Judgment Part One
Judgment Part One
23rd September 2000
The unshaven, disheveled, filthy backpacker was greeted in a friendly fashion, by the woman behind the receptionist desk at the nineteenth century Bed and Breakfast Inn.
“Good Afternoon Mr Krycek. Enjoy your penguin watching experience?”
“Yeah, photographing those little guys up close was a dream come true for me.” Alex lied charmingly. “Faith upstairs?”
“Your girlfriend was a huge help yesterday, helping us round up a herd of escaped sheep on the main road.” The receptionist beamed. “Yes, she’s just come back from her walk.”
“She’s not my girlfriend.” Alex said automatically, to the perplexed receptionist.
Lugging his backpack wearily up the narrow old stairs, Alex came to his room. He hoped Faith had enjoyed her three day rest.
“Been behaving yourself?” Alex inquired cheerfully, as he walked into the living room. He slid off his backpack. Christ the thing had weighed a ton.
Faith was reading a six month old English woman’s magazine. Faith glanced up from her arm chair with a welcoming smile for him.
“This place must be the only spot in the whole freaking world with no vampires or demons. I might retire here.” Faith put her magazine down. “You look all caveman.”
“Yeah well, the beard fuzz is going.” Alex started undressing, he was longing for a shower. “God, who would have guessed we had an agent among the penguin scientists down here? I still can’t get over it. Some alien shape-shifters showed up.”
“Oh crap, no kidding? See I told you I should have come along.” Faith rolled her eyes. She had been feeling run down, Alex had insisted she stay behind.
“I can handle myself.” Alex picked his clothes up off the floor. “Where are you putting your dirty laundry?”
“In my own suitcase, I’m not doing yours, nice try pal. God, is that a penguin feather on your jeans?”
“Yeah, Anastasia detonated a landmine to get rid of the aliens, a few penguins bit the tundra unfortunately.” Alex shook his head regretfully.
Faith made a disapproving face. “Oh shit Alex that’s bad man, you probably damaged the penguins’ Eco-system. You have to ask yourself, what kind of environmental footprint you’ve left here huh?”
“I’m asking myself what the hell happened to Faith Clare Lehane?” Alex voiced his surprise. “Since when have you gone Green?”
“I was reading the ‘lonely planet guide’ in your absence.” Faith explained. “It had pictures with captions.”
“Right, so hopefully you’re feeling sexually frustrated then, because I know I sure as hell am.” Alex had a feral glint in his eyes.
“I’ll put my sponge in.” Faith trotted off to the bathroom.
Alex had his shower and shave. Walking happily into the bedroom, there was a definite spring in his step. God he’d missed Faith in the three days he’d been away. Alex could hardly wait to be inside her making love. He’d had a hard-on the entire boat journey back just thinking about it.
He knelt down on the bed beside her. Faith had already taken off her clothes in readiness for him. Removing his towel with one playful tug, Faith went down on him immediately. Because he was uncircumcised, giving head was only ever an after shower experience for him with her. Alex recognized Faith would never feel entirely comfortable about his intact foreskin.
Faith moved her mouth and tongue round his cock in a far too exciting manner, for someone who had spent the past three days with unwashed sailors and nerdy research scientists. Alex gently pulled her off him.
They kissed softly, as Alex explored her nether regions with his hand. He bent down and made love to her with his mouth. Trying to avoid carefully the parts of her that tasted of spermicide. Her heavy breathing was his aural reward.
He slid up her lithe body, kissing her again. Faith responded eagerly. Alex was so proud of her that she had finally stopped smoking, except when they went out to bars. Faith was even more pleasant to kiss now, if that was humanly possible. Faith put her hand on Alex’s shaft, guiding him fluidly into her.
Alex thrust forward, looking at his young sexual partner’s face. He always loved to see her expression when he was inside her, filling her completely, bringing her to the height of ecstasy.
To Alex’s dismay he saw Faith bite her lip, as if in some kind of distress. Was something wrong? Maybe she had leg cramp. He thrust gently again. Christ, she had tears in her eyes. Oh god, she surely wasn’t pregnant again?
(They had got a bit carried away in the car when they had to pull over because of a torrential rainstorm two weeks ago. So carried away Faith had had to take the emergency contraception pill. He’d felt a complete bastard the next morning, watching her throw up because of the onslaught of hormones.
Alex had felt so terrible in fact, he had gone out and brought her some flowers. Faith when presented with the bouquet had accused him of acting like a frickin’ boyfriend, saying he would have been better off bringing home McDonald’s so she could eat some god damn American food for a change.)
“What’s wrong Faithya?” he whispered concerned.
“You’re hurting me.” Faith winced.
“I am?” Alex changed position. “How’s this?” he shifted his angle, thrusting gently again.
“Ow, no that’s worse.” Faith flinched away from him instinctively.
“What is it Faith?” Alex felt his erection slightly soften. He suspected immediately what the problem was. “God, has that rash come back?”
“Yeah,” Faith admitted. “I think I’m allergic to the chemicals in the sponge Alex. Look I’m okay, just finish pal.”
Alex pulled out rapidly. He lay on the bed beside her. “No! I’m not going to rut in you like some animal, if it hurts you. What kind of asshole do you think I am?”
“Well you must be sick of it by now dude.” Faith apologized. “I mean I’ve had this problem on and off for the last month.”
“Sick of the problem, not sick of you.” Alex kissed her tattoo. “Look Faith I’ve been thinking. The pill gives you migraines. You’ve never given birth, and apparently want to have kids one day. God knows why when you know the Earth is going to be colonized by aliens in twelve years time, so an IUD’s out. The injection might make you depressed, and we know what you’re like mentally unbalanced. We tried condoms in Brazil, and you saw how they just slide off me when things are getting interesting.”
“Well if you were circumcised…” Faith began.
“Faith I am not getting the chop, so I can wear condoms.” Alex put his foot down. “I have in mind a different kind of snip. We’re heading back to the U.S. tomorrow right? I have to vaccinate all the agents’ families now, starting in two weeks.”
“Yeah, but Alex what are you saying here? You’re not going to…?” Faith couldn’t believe he was suggesting the last birth control method left to them.
“Yes baby. I’m going to get a vasectomy in L.A.” Alex beamed happily. “Think about it Faith. We have most likely a year’s more work together, doing this vaccination program in North and South America. Head Office is very happy with our partnership and successful results. Wouldn’t it be great not having to worry about contraception anymore?”
24th September 2000
Air Canada Flight AC520 Mid air between Buenos Aires and Los Angeles
Faith undid her seat belt as the turbulence warning lights went off. She loved it when flights got bumpy.
Alex put down the unused sick bag he had got out, prepared as always for the worst.
“How can you be positive you’ll never want kids?” Faith insisted. They’d been discussing the pros and cons of Alex getting a vasectomy, all flight.
“Are you serious Faith? Look at my lifestyle?” Alex pointed out. “Anyway where would I ever meet an attractive, sensible woman who’d make a good mother?”
“I dunno.” Faith admitted. “Well I know I want kids. Not with you obviously, holy mother of god, what a nightmare that would be. I mean when I’m twenty eight or something, and found some guy who’s good-looking, skilled in the sack, who’d always be nice to me.”
Alex leaned over and redid up Faith’s seat belt one handed. “You should have the belt on constantly, unless you’re going to the restroom Faith.”
“Alex seriously dude, I think you should store some sperm, get it frozen. I mean you haven’t done any drugs since May. Your little tadpole things should be A Grade.” Faith persuaded him. “You might still save the world from you know what, meet this incredibly boring sounding woman one day, and then you’re screwed.”
Alex thought the prudent suggestion over. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll do that. You really are very smart sometimes.” He affectionately rearranged her hair slightly around her face. Satisfied with his quick hair fix, Alex went back to his Time magazine.
Faith waited till he looked engrossed in his article, shook her hair back to the way it was and picked up her own magazine again.
She was checking their horoscopes. Hmm, she had a temptation coming her way and Alex was going to have to call upon all his physical resources to be brave. That was a big ask. Alex was very brave in his own way, but he really should be an English professor at Moscow U., Faith had decided months ago, not a spy.
Flag Inn Motel
“No sex for at least ten days huh?” Faith stretched her legs on the couch. “That’s a real downer.”
“You’re free to indulge.” Alex forced himself to say, sitting beside her. Faith raised her legs automatically to let him join her, and then hooked them over him again. He had just come off the phone to a clinic.
“Just use condoms please.” Alex requested off-handed.
Alex's eyes were drawn to Faith's breasts automatically, as they pressed against her red satin chemise. Dressed to go out, Faith was looking even more overtly sexual than normal.
“Yeah, well I will don’t worry.” Faith felt put out. Wouldn’t Alex care at all, if she slept with someone else? Did he think she was some sex addict who couldn’t abstain for ten days?
Nah, she was being silly. They weren’t a couple after all. It wasn’t like Alex was her boyfriend. Besides this was the start of her two weeks off. Faith was going to Boston next week. She just wanted to catch up with Angel first.
“So do you want me to go with you to the clinic, look after you afterwards?” Faith offered. “I don’t think Angel’s gonna need me tomorrow.”
“Would you mind?” Alex said gratefully.
“Of course not,” Faith told him. “I can drive you back here. You’ll be all groggy with pain killers, and some dickwad told me once that driver fatigue is the leading cause of all road deaths.”
“That was me.” Alex reminded her shortly.
“Oh yeah,” Faith looked at Alex’s watch.
“Well gotta go pal. I’m meeting the fang gang at some demon bar. Catch you later. Try not to jerk off huh? Just think scalpel in balls thoughts.”
“Leave.” Alex pushed her off the couch impatiently.
“Hotel keys. So I can come back here tonight then.” Faith held out her hand.
Alex looked surprised.
“Oh Christ, you thought I’d bang some new guy tonight like a dog on heat, just because my vacation started two hours ago?” Faith snapped at him hurt. “I never realized before that you think I’m a complete nympho.”
Alex gave her his hotel room keys. He couldn’t say or do anything right it seemed. “Faith, have a good time with your friends.”
“Yeah, naturally I’ll be screwing the first demon I see in a rest room stall tonight.” Faith stormed out of his hotel room, slamming the door violently closed behind her.
Alex wished she wouldn’t slam doors when she was annoyed. Faith forgot she had slayer strength. One of these days she’d do some real damage.
Faith ran into Angel at the bar at Caritas, just as she was about to buy a drink.
“Hey,” she greeted him happily.
“Hey.” He said, his normal brooding expression replaced by a two second smile. “Where’s your bag?”
“Oh, change of plan. I’m staying with Alex tonight. He’s having minor surgery tomorrow.” Faith explained. “I’m gonna baby sit him.”
“Well the others are over there at that table.” Angel pointed. “It’s my round, what were you going to order?”
“A Margarita,” Faith looked round the place, a demon Karaoke bar huh? Now she’d seen everything.
She helped Angel carry the drinks back to their table. Angel never really liked waiters bringing drinks over. He didn’t trust them.
“You’re sane right?” Were Cordelia’s first words to Faith. “No elbowing or cutting of Wesley and me?”
“Yeah promise.” Faith mumbled embarrassed, slipping into her chair. “You’re looking good by the way Cor.”
“How else would I look?” Cordelia reached for her cocktail. “So what do you think of this place? We’ve never been here before either. Well Wesley has.”
“They frisked me for my stake.” Faith complained.
“No weapons allowed.” Wesley said sipping his beer. “This place is a sanctuary.”
“That’s one word for it. How come youse guys are here tonight?” Faith asked the three private investigators. “Though I gotta say the place has atmosphere.”
“Looking for a stool pigeon named Merl.” Angel informed her.
“It’s always work, work with him.” Cordelia popped her drink’s decorative pineapple piece in her mouth.
The Host started singing an old Motown song. Some patrons started dancing.
“Come on.” Faith grabbed Cordelia’s arm impulsively. “Let’s dance.”
“Not like we’re pole dancers.” Cordelia cautioned. She had noticed the way Faith had danced with Buffy at the Bronze nightclub, back in Cordelia’s last year of high school. “I don’t want to be swamped with desperate, dateless demons wanting our cell phone numbers.”
“I’ll do my best.” Faith promised. “You’ll just have to keep yourself in check.”
Faith and Cordelia stepped onto the dance floor together. Although good dancers they had never danced with each other before.
The song the Host was singing, being an innocent sixties number, combined with Cordelia not having Buffy’s latent dark streak, led to the girls dancing together in a way that was purely fun. Dancing with Cordelia was like dancing with her friend Marie, Faith realized.
Faith and Buffy really had some kind of chemical attraction going on, that Faith didn’t want to analyze the root cause of too much. Did Faith and B.’s issues with each other stem from the fact they were both Slayers when there was only ever meant to be one at a time or something else?
Faith shook her head in polite refusal as a demon came up to them, offering the girls the chance to be his dark overlord’s concubines.
Cordelia tucked the demon’s business card in her blouse anyway. You never knew who or what might turn out to be a future client.
The two dancing girls observed Wesley and Angel go over to some shifty looking demon, badgering him for information.
“He never takes a break.” Cordelia worried, as she shimmied down on the floor.
“Who Angel?’ Faith spun Cordelia round. “He’s looking for redemption.”
“So aren’t you?” Cordelia twisted Faith round in turn.
“Mildly, my big quest is just to keep staying sane at the moment.” Faith was startled to have a microphone shoved in her face.
The green Host was obviously expecting her to sing the next line of the song.
Faith was thankful she had already had her first Margarita. “Worst of all, you never call baby, when you say will.” Faith sang in the microphone shyly.
The host turned the mike under Cordelia’s nose. “But I love you still.” Cordelia sang off key.
The host wandered off to find his next victims.
Faith waved away a sleazy werewolf. “Sorry lover, doing it doggie style for the rest of my life just doesn’t do it for me.”
The two girls and everyone else in the bar except Angel joined the Host in the final line of the song. “So build me up Buttercup, don’t break my heart.”
The Host took to the stage. “Thank you, thank you. Oh by the way. Derek the werewolf, biting your boss and turning him into a werewolf too, won’t get you a raise sorry, you big mooch. Cordelia the Seer...”
Cordelia jumped guiltily, as she and Faith made their way back to their table.
“Get that sore tooth seen to this week, you don’t need those new boots girlfriend. You need a dentist’s appointment.” The host chuckled into his Microphone. “And Faith the Vampire Slayer, don’t give into temptation sweetheart. It’ll make you the happiest in the long run.”
“Wow the green guy’s amazing.” Cordelia exclaimed to Wesley as she sat back down. “My back tooth has been aching. You probably noticed I’ve been a real bitch sometimes lately, totally unlike me.”
“You have ...oh yes of course Cordelia. Tooth ache very nasty, must get that looked at.” Wesley drank his beer quickly.
“What was the demon’s deal?” Faith said puzzled. “What did he mean?”
Wesley explained. “The Host’s psychic, he's connected to the mystic. When you sing you bare you soul. He sees into it.”
The group of Sunnydale ex-pats remained talking and drinking over Angel’s latest case for another hour.
Faith yawned. “I gotta go guys. I have to be up early tomorrow. I’ll catch up with youse tomorrow evening.”
“I’ll walk you to the taxi.” Angel offered, coming with her. “Before the Host tries to get me to sing again.”
“He’s hot for you Angel.” Faith teased. She yawned again, fishing her cigarette packet out of her jacket. “God sorry, it’s switching time zones. It’s caught up with me.”
“So you’re enjoying your life? Heard you cut a hell of a swathe through the vamps in Boston in May.” Angel lit her cigarette for her. Angel had smoked for most of the early part of the twentieth century. Old habits died hard.
“Yeah, been doing good deeds,” Faith confessed. “More than I could ever have achieved in prison anyways.”
“But someone else is paying for the crime you committed.” Angel pointed out.
“They’re not paying Angel. They’re dead.” Faith smiled grimly. “That girl was dying. She went to prison to perform a hit on someone. That’s how Alex’s Head Office does things. Her family is well taken care of now apparently.”
“Well you dine with the devil, you need a long spoon Faith.” Angel warned.
“I know what I’m doing.” Faith shrugged. “I don’t see what good me going to prison would have done the world huh? I know B. was keen on it.”
“You hurt her.” Angel stated simply.
“I know.” Faith sighed, blowing her smoke downwards. “I’ve hurt a lot of people. But I’ve stopped doing that now.”
25th September 2000
Flag Inn Hotel Los Angeles
With every minute that ticked by, Faith could tell Alex was growing slightly more nervous.
“It isn’t meant to be that bad.” She reassured him, drinking her morning coffee.
“What?” Alex shook his head. “No it’s not the minor surgical procedure, or even the thought of jerking off before hand, knowing everyone in the waiting room will know I’m doing that. Look, do you mind for convenience's sake today purely, pretending to be my girlfriend at the clinic? That way they can explain everything to you as well.”
“Yeah sure,” Faith smirked. “Hey do I get to call you a pet name like I dunno, bunny-bear?”
“You know I sleep with a loaded gun under my pillow after six months together.” Alex shot back, drinking his tea.
“Six months together. God how romantic, you sound like my boyfriend already.” Faith laughed. “Except three months is the longest I ever went out with anyone.”
Faith did feel like a girlfriend by the end of the morning. The doctor offered to get a nurse to fit her with a diaphragm, while Alex had his surgery. It would take three months before all sperm had disappeared from his ejaculate, so the pair weren’t out of the woods yet.
The doctor also informed them that a lot of other women were getting rashes from using nonoxynol 9 spermicide. Faith glared at Alex. She couldn’t help feeling his cautious overkill about the spermicide they used had caused the problem in the first place.
Unexpectedly the doctor brought up her miscarriage. Faith couldn’t believe Alex had mentioned this to the doctor on the phone. Faith had done her best to block it out of mind.
Her evident misery about it, caused Alex to lean across and hold her hand in front of the doctor. Faith didn’t think that was an act on Alex’s part. He really didn’t like seeing her unhappy.
She drove Alex home in contemplative silence after the surgery. Once in the hotel unit Alex went straight to bed. Sleepy from pain medication.
At two o'clock she brought him lunch and an ice pack, as per the doctor’s instructions.
“Thanks Faith.” Alex sat up in bed.
“How are you feeling bunny-bear?” Faith passed him the soup she had brought.
“Get a man when he’s down.” Alex took the soup. “Sore.”
“Here are your pain relief tablets.” Faith passed them to him, with a glass of water.
“Can you be this nice to me next time I’m tortured by some irate agent? When they didn’t get the message passed on from Head Office that I was arriving to puncture them with a needle.” Alex requested hopefully.
“No, this is a one off pal.” Faith lay beside him carefully on the bed. They were completely comfortable with each other by now. She knew he’d like her company at the moment.
“Faith, I don’t want you to sleep with anyone else in the next two weeks. I just didn’t want to hold you back.” Alex tried to explain his comment, the previous evening.
“What do you mean hold me back?” Faith said puzzled.
Alex put his soup away cautiously. “I feel our relationship is unequal, that I’m exploiting you.”
“Alex we don’t have a ‘relationship’, and you’re not exploiting me pal.” Faith scoffed. “I don’t love you.”
“Okay that’s fine we don’t love each other.” Alex ran his fingers lightly through her hair. “But if I hadn’t had this vasectomy. If I slept with someone I met here in L.A. and you came back and found us together, how would you honestly feel?”
“Oh yeah okay, I’d be upset, jealous. But that’s only because I’m frickin insecure.” Faith fidgeted.
“Look face the facts, somehow we’ve drifted into a monogamous relationship. It will destroy our trust in one another if we have sex with somebody else at the moment.” Alex stroked her face.
“Are you ashamed of sleeping with me Faith?” He could see how she might be.
“No, I’m not ashamed of sleeping with you. I’ve even told my best friend about ya. That we screw, not that you’re a spy.” Faith felt her cheeks grow pink at the admission.
“There you see my point?” Alex said, still stroking her face. “So don’t screw anyone else please, wait till I’m back in action.”
“Okay.” Faith hadn’t wanted to anyway. But now he had asked her not to, she felt scared somehow.
“You don’t love me right?” she made sure. “You’re not getting all heavy?”
“No I don’t love you.” Alex promised. He was pretty sure he didn’t, but he was extremely fond of her. He knew she felt the same way about him.