Best laid Plans
Disclaimer: I don't own Firefly or BtVS, they belong to that lucky fella, Mr. Joss Whedon!! I am making no money at all from this!
AN: Takes place after the events of 'Chosen' in the Buffy-verse. And starts just before the episode 'Our Mrs Reynolds' for Firefly. Also I couldn't find a canon name for Faith's Watcher so I made one up. If anyone wants to drop me a line on what it is if anyone knows then I'll be happy to change it. Also I used some quotes from other movies, spot them, get a cookie!
Faith had never expected things to work out like this. Having grown up on in the ghettos of Boston had taught her to not expect any more than her mother had achieved. Which, if you discounted Faith, was a string of boyfriends, who alternately beat her and fucked her, a job as a hooker and a drug habit she couldn’t kick no matter how many times she tried.
So the day she’d been told about everything Slayer-related was one she had marked in her diary ever since, and marked the day she’d become the Slayer with as much importance, maybe more, as a birthday. When the tall British woman had approached her on the street and told her of her possible destiny she’d laughed. It was the look on the English woman’s face that stopped her. This woman was deadly serious.
“You’re crazy!” Faith had told her. She’d gotten the whole speech then. One girl in all the world. Power to do remarkable good. Faith had been entranced with the idea. Her, the saviour of the world. Impossible. Kirsten had told her it was very possible. If she were called, she would be the one girl in the world who could keep the darkness at bay. She’d been fourteen. And she’d prayed every night, to a God she never really believed in, that one day she would be the Slayer.
It felt like a million years ago. It wasn’t quite that long. 500 years or so.
500 years since that world had imploded and the human race had left the planet they had exploited to the destruction of about two thirds of the population. Well, Faith didn’t know the exact figures but she didn’t for a moment believe that crap about the entire human race moving off world. There would never have been room or enough food to support that many people. And that was just from the practical side of it.
On the other side of it was the fact that most of the populations of the worlds she’d visited had been American or Chinese in the majority. Sure, you had the token Cockney or Russian. Nevertheless, you had to be severely deaf, dumb and blind not to see who had been the main ticket holders in those Earth flights.
Some things hadn’t changed though. There would always be a Watchers Council. It may have evolved over the centuries but it was still the base of those who’d fought the ultimate darkness. Though that mission had changed shape too. Now instead of fighting they healed those who did.
But there were no more slayers. No more demons to fight. The latter had been left behind on the wasted planet Faith would forever call home. As for the former…They had vanished, like rain on the mountains, like wind in the meadows. The last recorded Slayer, Reca, had died about two hundred years ago. They even had a mural of her, in memory of all Slayers through the years who had given their lives in the struggle.
They hadn’t known who she was when they found her. A lost relic of Earth-that-was. A fighter of the same era as Buffy Summers. That much she had told them.
Faith snorted at that. 500 years in the future and she had still been the oldest, and most famous, Slayer who had ever lived. They still had some records. Sketchy at best but they still existed. Telling of how Buffy closed the Hellmouth, rebuilt the Watchers Council from scratch and transformed it to work as a cohesive fighting machine, and more importantly had lived to be the oldest Slayer in living history. Faith wondered what she would think of the Monks of Time now if she saw them.
And then there was her. What exactly had she achieved in her 6 years as Slayer, a stint in prison and a murder rap.
Faith had survived the battle with the First, only to be struck down by the Big C (cancer), was magically frozen for almost 500 years and was still not even a footnote in their history books. Or cortex as they called it.
The shuttle rattled but Faith didn’t notice, so locked in memories was she.
The cancer had been well advanced by the time the doctors had found it. And not her Slayer healing nor Willows magics had been able to help her. Faith had seen the heartbreak in Buffy’s eyes when they had realised that the younger slayer had only a few months to live. To watch her mother struggle with the disease only to lose her sister Slayer to it was too much.
Faith loved Buffy like a sister, even with all their problems, and there was no way she could watch Buffy watch her die. She had to leave. She’d travel. See what she could of Gods green Earth before she was buried beneath it.
Buffy had begged her to stay. They had missed out on so much time together already, she pleaded. Faith shook her head sadly. She was ready to leave within the week, flitting off for Thailand and the Indies. Giles had been kind enough to ‘lend’ her some Council funds for her trip. Dawn hugged her for so long before she left, it still brought a tear to Faiths eyes when she remembered. Even Xander had patted her shoulder gently in goodbye.
Willow pressed a crystal into her hand before she left.
“Wear it round your neck. For strength,” she said meeting Faiths eyes. “And so we know when and where. We‘ll bring you home.” Faith could only hug her in thanks.
Faith had been hoping for a dignified death. No slow torturous decline for her. Unbeknownst to the Scooby Gang she’d taken Mr. Pointy from Buffy’s chest and gone hunting every night, with her failing strength she’d been sure it wouldn’t take long for her to die, or rather, be killed.
She’d only just hit Lagos when she’d heard tell of a major demon hangout near the beach. A local dive that managed to survive because of the locals’ ignorance. Her plan was simple. Sweep and destroy. Take as many of the bastards with her as she could. She had never dreamt she’d make it out of there alive.
She’d been half-right.
She’d interrupted them right in the middle of some strange ceremonial ritual. She didn’t stop to find out what it was about or anything. She could kick herself now for not scoping it out or anything before, it might have saved her, but then again that hadn’t really been the point.
She fought viciously, slaughtering the ranks of the demon horde even as the chanting continued.
A petty demon no bigger than herself had managed to get a swift stab in before she snapped his neck. It was a chest wound. She killed a few more demons that were in close range before falling to her knees.
However, the ritual was ongoing. It would continue unless she managed to find a way to interrupt the chanting of the demons in the middle of the room. But she was all out of energy and almost out of caring.
The rest of the demons could sense her end was nigh and were ready waiting to devour her as soon as she fell. Though the haze that clouded her mind, she could feel the crystal around her neck heat up and knew she was about to go.
She glanced down groggily to find something, anything to fling at one of the demons, only to find that she still had Mr. Pointy in her hand. She shuffled it round in her hand then threw it. It hit the leader of the group dead centre in, what was presumably, his forehead.
The chanting stopped. The demons looked round fearful and backed away from the centre of the circle. Faith wondered for a moment what exactly she had done, what could make demons back away in fear like this, before a blast of energy threw all the demons against the wall. Faith watched in horror as a bolt of lightening rose from the circle etched into the hardwood floor spiked high in the air before arching round and hitting her in the chest.
She didn’t even feel any pain.
All went dark.
Waking was the strangest part. She didn’t wake slowly, drifting into consciousness with bits and pieces of memories coming back to her. Rather she woke with a jump. Flailing upright as if fighting to free herself from a terrible dream. Her heart was thudding loudly beneath the white shirt she was wearing as she took in her surroundings.
The room was white, the walls, the floor, the bed she was in, the clothes she was wearing, even the door in the corner.
The thought launched her off the bed and to the floor with such force she almost bounced back up, then she was beside the door wrenching on the handle with all the strength she could gather. It didn’t budge, it didn’t so much as creak. She slammed her palm against the door in anger but it was futile.
She backed into the corner and surveyed the room. There wasn’t much to survey. The bed she’d been on was a simple trolley in the middle of the floor. And that was it. No windows, no vents, only the extra-strong immovable door.
Time dragged in that white room where the only sound to keep her company was the sound of her breathing and the thudding of her heart in her ribcage, a constant reminder that this wasn’t heaven, or even hell for that matter.
A knock on the door jerked her out of her reverie. She slid along the wall to the far corner. For some reason fear had come knocking with the knock on the door and Faith wasn’t sure she wanted to know what was on the other side of the door.
It was weird.
They apologised for holding her. Gave her clothes and food. A proper room, with a view and all. The view wasn’t much, just the gardens that served the kitchen but it was better than any she’d had before. They didn’t ask her about her past. They didn’t ask any questions at all, a favour Faith was more than happy to repay (she didn’t really feel like asking how her body had been carting millions of light years from home in a metal box or where she had been ‘stored’ in that in between time).
They seemed to know enough about her though.
They didn’t know her name, her date of birth or any of the more interesting details of her previous life and Faith was more than happy to plead amnesia but they knew enough to know she wasn’t from this time.
They offered treatments to help her regain her memory but she refused. She thought for a moment there that they might force her, maybe that they might use her to gain info on Earth-that-was. Once she found out home had blown up about 500 years ago she knew just how valuable that info would be, but she didn’t feel like spending any more time in shiny white rooms than she had to.
But they were kind. Even reserved. The kind of reserved people use around the recently bereaved. And Faith supposed that was one way to describe how she’d felt those first few months with them. Off-balance. The world had gone and gotten itself blown up and she hadn’t even been around to see the fireworks.
She’d been pulled from everything she’d ever known and tossed into a new world, hell, a whole new universe. Back from the dead, or near dead.
They gave her a few months with them to readjust, then quietly but firmly suggested that she leave them and try for a new life outside. They had told her the basics, monetary systems, the planets and advised various jobs she should try. As she left they gave her some credits to start off with.
“It isn’t much,” one of the elders said, regretfully. But Faith had thanked him and turned to go. No one had tried to hug her or anything, though she’d gotten close to one or two of them. They weren’t big on the touchy-feely crap, she knew.
The shuttle lurched again.
“I thought you said you could work this thing.” She growled at the pilot.
“They’re not meant to travel this far.” Her travelling companion said sweetly. Faith glared at her, not fooled for a moment by her outward exterior and made a mental note to quit her company as soon as she was able. She preferred her workmates to be upfront about their duplicity.
And she had found work, easily enough she remembered. There was always work for those strong enough for it, and the years had not lessened her strength. But she often found herself in fights. Usually fighting off the advances of a fellow worker who took her easy banter as something more. The boss-men never seemed to take her excuses of self-defence to heart, some even going to suggest she had ‘asked for it’.
Faith gritted her teeth in frustration. 500 years of change and some things never did.
As she moved further from the core she marvelled at the difference. The core was like a utopia, with high tech medical and technological advances, while the rims were like something out of a John Wayne movie.
Gunslingers and cowboys.
The child inside crowed with delight while the adult grimaced at the difference. They could preach all they wanted about their Unified front but while there still remained such a difference in standards between the planets people would still be discontented.
Things were harder and easier for her out on the rims. People were more likely to hire her but they would only take you on if you had experience with weaponry. Dangerous times and such like. The only weaponry Faith had experience with would occasionally give you splinters and she‘d never liked guns.
She’d been lucky on the last planet to bump into her present company who was more than willing to invite Faith along for the job as a distraction, although Faith had been a little concerned with how she’d eyed Faiths curves. But she hadn’t glanced her way since, so Faith could only assume she was looking for Faith to be a certain kind of ‘distraction’ in what Faith was sure would be a less than legal activity. But as long as it paid well, Faith couldn’t care less. And she’d been told this would
The shuttle rocked again and Faith was nearly jolted out of her seat, safety harness or no.
“Hold on to something.” She was told. But there was nothing for her to grab onto but the seat itself and as Faith suffered through one of the
bumpiest atmo entries she been through, she wondered aloud if they would even survive the landing.
“Oh I think so.” The pilot said airily. “I’m not sure about this shuttle though.” She laughed at Faiths incredulous look. “Oh, don’t worry. It’s not mine.”
Faith cursed all the gods she could think of as the shuttle slid and hopped along the ground, before it finally stopped, banking sharply and digging a large trench in the ground.
Faith let out a little sigh but her companion only hummed something as she got out of the seat.
“Come on. We’ve got work to do.”
“So, what’s the job.” Faith asked. Night had fallen as they’d walked and now the rustic village they were in was lit by a huge bonfire. Loud music of the country type was being played and Faith watched people dancing and singing in a cleared space. They sat on the edge, out of the light and for a second Faith felt a small pang of loneliness. How long had it been since she’d danced? About 500 years, she thought with a grin. She glanced down at her outfit, a peasant sundress she ‘acquired’ recently, she’d never have worn this dress dancing then either, not low cut enough. She swallowed her loneliness and concentrated on what Saffron was telling her.
“The basic plan is to rip off the captain of that ship we passed. The more complex plan is to steal away on his ship in a way that he’ll keep us on board and trust us. We act like simple village girls,” she eyed Faith. “You can do that? Good.” She said on Faiths nod.
“The cortex on that shuttle said that the basic marriage ceremony for-”
“Marriage!” Faith exclaimed.
“We say we were part payment for the job they did earlier, easiest thing. And all we have to do is put a wreath on his head and give him a drink. Then dance and be merry.” She nodded at a tall, well defined man talking to the chief elder. “He’s the captain. He’ll be more difficult to trick, I’ll take him.” She pointed to a bearded, muscular man sitting playing with a wooden tube. “You take him, he looks thick enough.”
Faith didn’t even bother acting indignant, she was busy watching her mark. She winced as he chugged back even more alcohol.
“I don’t have to sleep with him, do I?” Just the thought of it made her shudder. Saffron gave her a piercing look.
“You do whatever you have to, to take him in. Get the job done, otherwise,” she left it hanging. Faith just rolled her eyes and nodded. She watched the dancers again while Saffron eyed the tall guy. The crowd parted and Faith peered round them to see what they were watching.
Then she saw her.
She danced with a grace Faith had rarely seen before. Not even in that ballet show Giles had dragged them all to that one time. She twirled and kicked and spun in the air. The only other person Faith had seen move like that was… well… herself, when she’d trained in front of the mirrors and Faith knew looking at her that she was a descendant of the Slayer line Faith had assumed long dissolved.
She looked out of place here in this setting and Faith could only glance around in surprise to see who here she could belong with. Most of the celebrants were villagers, as witnessed by their dress but she could see several of the people near the captain Saffron mentioned watching the dancer, smiling and clapping as she executed some of the more daring moves, and knew she must belong with them. Dammit! Why did things always have to get complicated?
She had to get on their ship. But not with Saffron. Saffron had her own job in mind and Faith knew there was no way she would be able to get near this young girl if the crew thought she had anything to do with whatever it was Saffron was planning to do.
Saffron had to go.
“You ready?” The con artist asked, glancing over. Faith nodded, setting her shoulders.
“As I’ll ever be.” She muttered. Before Saffron could react, Faith swung a swift punch to the head that knocked the blonde unconscious. Faith caught her before she could fall and dragged her over behind a nearby house.
“Sorry girl, but I won’t be your distraction!” She made sure the con artist was still breathing then took the few bits from her that she had planned to sneak on board the ship, you never know what will come in handy.
She stepped out of the shadows then and straightened her dress with nervous fingers. Time to put Saffron’s plan into action and see if she was as good an actress as she had hoped.