Title: Maximum Faith
Disclaimer: Dark Angel was created by James Cameron. Btvs and Angel by Joss Whedon. They own the characters I don’t.
Timeline: Set in the last episode onwards of Dark Angel Season One Jesus Brought a Casserole and This Year’s Girl of Season Four of BtVS.
Summary: Max awakes from being shot in the heart to find herself in Faith’s body in Sunnydale Hospital, in February 2000.
Faith awakes from her coma to find herself in Manticore’s Gillette Outpost base, in May 2020. Why the girls woke up in each others bodies will be explained as the story progresses.
There are no fixed pairings the two feisty heroines do a lot of bed hopping in this story. Relax, Faith will never sleep with Joshua.
AN: For the heroines childhood background stories I’m using the TV tie ins Before The Dawn by Max Allan Collins and Go Ask Malice a slayers diary by Robert Joseph Levy. Levy and Collins again own the books characters I don’t.
Date: Late May 2020
Location: Manticore Gillette Base Wyoming
Twenty year old Max found herself falling. Her fall was caused by being knocked backwards, onto the wet cold unyielding earth of Wyoming. Thrown off her feet by the impact of a bullet entering her chest.
Shot by her nine year old cloned self. How whack was that?
Her boyfriend Logan somehow came to be with Max as she sprawled on the ground. Stupid, scruffy intellectual that she loved, part of her family as much as anyone. Logan Cale should have been back in the van where he was safe, protected by her former nemesis, Colonel Donald Lydecker.
Logan cradled her upper body in his arms. “Max. Oh, God. Okay, it's okay. You're going to be okay.”
She could hear his indrawn breath of horror when he examined her gaping chest wound.
“This isn't bad.” Logan was trying to convince himself as much as her Max could tell.
“Logan...” Max smiled, she needed to inform him about something very important. Her chest didn’t hurt - an ominous sign. Max was running out of time to finally let Logan into her closely guarded secret, she loved him.
“It's okay. You're going to be all right.” Logan whispered fiercely to her.
Logan Cale, Seattle’s answer to freaking Bruce Wayne loved her. Why did they waste all that time dancing around each other? It had been her fault. Too scared to get close. Everything was Max’s fault.
“I'm sorry.” Max managed to get that out at least. She regretted so many things. All the people she’d hurt and failed. The man she loved most, about to be added to the long list.
“No, no, no, no. No, we're going to get you out of here. Okay? It's going to be all right.” Logan sounded like a man possessed. Yeah, he knew she was leaving him.
“There's something I've got to tell you. I should've said something a long time ago.” Max felt the tears rolling down her cheeks. How strangely incredible that her body should be wasting resources producing saline. Its energies should be concentrated on saving her life. You would think Manticore could have designed her better.
“It can wait.” Logan assured her.
It was so good that he could be here for her last seconds on the planet. She needed to tell Logan she loved him. She still hadn’t done that yet.
“Logan...” Max attempted one more time.
“Max.” Logan’s voice was the last thing she heard.
Date: February 25th 2000
Location: Sunnydale California
A thunderstorm raged outside the hospital where Max regained consciousness.
She’d been having dreams that weren’t hers. In one dream she made up a bed with a blonde girl. A knife protruded from Max’s stomach. The other girl must have stabbed her with it. Bitch.
In another dream Max was having a picnic with a wonderful Dad, Max and this other person had always wanted, but never experienced growing up. The blonde chick ruined that family outing.
The blonde enemy chased her into a graveyard. A terrified Max fell into an open grave. The blonde dropped down on top of her. Max took her out no longer frightened. Max could take out anyone. Max was designed genetically to be a trained killer. She’d killed her first human at eight years of age. Helped rip him apart with her brothers and sisters.
Max clawed, struggling, climbing out of the grave. The rain poured down in icy torrents, lightning striking around her. She stood at the mouth of the grave, raised her arms to the angry heavens and screamed.
Max opened her eyes. Max lay on a bed, alone, forlorn in a room. Obviously Max resided in a hospital. Logan must have got her to safety. Did Zack, Krit and Syl make it too?
There could be heard by Max, an underlying beeping sound, beneath the drumming of the rain on the windows. Max was attached to a heart monitor by a wire. That was reassuring, surprising given the shot in the chest circumstances, but reassuring. She touched her chest. No bandage. No scar even? Weird, her breasts felt bigger. No, that couldn’t be right. She must have been unconscious for a long time. Max still felt groggy from it.
Max pulled the bed covers off herself. She rose from the bed, taking off her heart monitor and removing her iv drip. That stung. Removing the catheter was worse.
Max walked over to the door. This experience got freakier by the second, but she felt shorter. You couldn’t have your breasts grow and shrink in height, impossible.
The room she had been in came out onto a corridor. No guards outside. Another sign this place must be a hospital Logan would have put her into.
Max expected to see nurses, doctors, other patients. Not gurneys, lunch-carts and boxes lined against the wall as if in storage. The corridor like her room was in semidarkness. Max couldn’t see well like she normally could. But... she looked at the back of her bleeding hand, where she had pulled out her drip… The old expression you knew the way like the back of your hand. That wasn’t Max’s hand. Even in the dark Max could see that.
There was a glowing green exit sign, on the double doorway ahead. Max could hear a muffled PA announcement coming from the floor above. She wasn’t going to go up there. Not yet. Something seriously wrong here. Like the fact you’re not in your own body, Maxie! Her subconscious decided to sit up and slap her around.
A young woman entered the corridor through the doors. She wore a long red coat and clutched a teddy bear. She definitely seemed harmless. The woman appeared lost, which became confirmed by her first sentence.
“Excuse me. Do you know how to get to the third floor west from here?” She walked up to Max and stopped in front of her.
“No.” Max didn’t know where the hell she was. “What hospital am I in?”
“Sunnydale General.” The girl informed her gently. “The only hospital in Sunnydale. Um, you need some help or something?”
“I, yeah where is Sunnydale exactly?” That didn't sound like a familiar suburb of Seattle, what was the freaking dickens happening here?
“California. Have you been in a car accident? Shall I get a nurse?” The girl started to look worried.
“No, please.” Max smiled her megawatt smile. Ignoring the fact her facial muscles moved differently when she did so. “I’m fine. What’s the date again today?”
“February the twenty fifth.”
Max experienced nauseating panic flooding through her digestive system. Unconscious for ten months?
“I really need to get you a nurse. You must have had a head injury.” The girls face was full of concern.
“No I’m fine, real dealio.” Max didn’t trust anyone at the moment. Not until she knew exactly what happened. “I’m gonna go back to my room. I’ll call for a nurse myself when I’m there.”
Max expected the window to be locked and barred, but it prized open easily. Her shadowed reflection in the glass seemed wrong somehow. But Max didn’t have time to worry about it. Max crawled out, edging her way along the window ledge. The hospital room only located on the first storey.
Max jumped down. The impact more jarring than normal, she didn’t have the balance she possessed before. She must be pumped full of drugs.
Max used the old Manticore 'sneak and creep' technique to exit the hospital grounds, in the fast descending dusk.
Sunnydale General Hospital, gave off all signals of being a regular hospital from the outside at first. Ambulances, visiting cars. But there appeared to be something not quite right about it. Everyone looked too prosperous, too well fed. Where were the homeless people, sitting outside the entrance in the light, seeking warmth and shelter?
Max needed clothes first priority. She snuck through suburban backyards, until she came to a unlit house. No dog kennel in the back yard. Good sign. No burglar alarm. Gee, thank you about to be ripped off people. Max would only take what she needed.
Max effortlessly jimmied the lock on a back window. She slid into the house. A working couple’s residence maybe. The time on the kitchen wall clock said six thirty. They would possibly be arriving home any minute.
Max ran upstairs to the main bedroom. Flinging open the closet door. A light inside the closet, clicked on automatically, illuminating Max in the mirror behind the closet door.
Max clapped her hand over her chapped lips to stop herself screaming. What had they done to her?
Time: May 25th 1999
Location: Sunnydale California
Eighteen year old Faith looked down at the knife Buffy just stabbed through her abdomen. Her own knife, Buffy, you bitch. There came a moment’s stunned pause, both girls taking in the enormity of what Buffy managed to finally achieve.
Faith nearly overtaken by shock, how quickly she felt weak, couldn’t help but to give B. one last world weary smile and quip.
“You did it.” Shit, Faith felt kinda proud of Buffy. They were called, chosen to be killers, about time Buffy Summers lost her mental virginity on that one. Faith pushed her sister slayer away.
”You killed me.” Faith always internally predicted this fate for herself, how she’d end up. A principal of Faith’s foresaw it once too, right before he suspended her. Asshole windbag.
Death wasn’t even that unwelcome in the end. She screwed her whole life up before she turned twenty. Way to go Faithie.
Faith climbed onto the low wall of her apartment’s terraced balcony. She'd be fucked if she was gonna make it still possible for Angel to feed off her dying body.
This way Faith could make everyone’s speculations about her come true, all the social workers, all the teachers, the cops, all the neighbors in her ever changing houses growing up. Faith could be found dead in a gutter tomorrow. Who was she to disappoint everyone’s low expectations of her?
Faith couldn’t resist one last dig. “Still won't help your boy though.” Buffy you had to discover what being a slayer was truly about, only now.
Faith thought she’d worked it out months ago, a crying shame that Buffy…
“Shoulda been there, B, quite a ride.” Faith thought, losing consciousness, falling backwards off the wall, down, down, that as last words went, that sentence was up there with the best of them. She always ruled at being the queen of one liners.
Time: May 25th 2020
Location: Manticore Gillette base Wyoming
It was the steady beeping of the heart monitor that Faith gradually became aware of first. Coming out of her dream state. Dreams that weren’t hers. If Faith described them out loud to another person she would have said the fleeting images were sappy bullshit.
Privately the dreams were what she always wanted. Total wish fulfillment.
Partying in a dive of a bar, surrounded by strangers who were her friends and family. They all loved her. Even this old guy who was obviously some ex-military dad type. Everyone having a great time.
Faith on a bed surrounded by candles. Being made love to by a good looking guy in his thirties. She was on the bottom. That alone told you how stupid the dream was. Like Faith ever allowed herself to be screwed in that loser position since she fled Boston.
But a beautiful gal wet dream nonetheless. The man so considerate of her. Loving Faith, not using her body merely to get off on, like she was a superior tube of lube. The dream turned scary when a crow flew in the room. It caws a harbinger of doom. The guy would touch Faith’s chest, the other girl’s chest and draw his hand away covered in blood.
Faith woke up, tied down with restraints, surrounded by medical equipment. No, she didn’t like to be tied up, that's what Faith did to other people. She instinctively tried to struggle free.
“Careful, you’ll tear a stitch.” A middle aged woman spoke to her. God, she looked like a cop or something official. Shit, how come Faith wound up in a prison hospital? Had Buffy stopped The Mayor’s plans?
Faith didn’t feel pain. Deducing, she was pumped up with a truckload of drugs so she wouldn't. There was something wrong with her chest. Her chest? Why not her belly? “Where am I?”
“I think you know.” The woman came across as a bona fide evil bitch. It took only the woman’s second sentence for Faith to work that no brainer out.
“Where’s The Mayor, what happened to him?” Faith needed to know what desperately. Had Buffy killed him?
Faith didn’t know whether to feel sad, or gloriously relieved, if B. succeeded in taking The Mayor out. Come to think of thinking. Her brain chemistry was different. If you’d say Faith felt more energetic mentally somehow than normal it would sound insane.
God, but hey Faith was insane, people. Had been officially diagnosed as psychotic in Boston. Meant to be cured. Prone to relapses it appeared. But right now… Faith felt better mentally than she had in a while. Scared shitless at the same time.
“’The Mayor’, is that another nickname you have for your brother, 542?” A sickly sweet fake grimace pretending to be a smile, played over the woman’s fair features. She picked up a stethoscope, putting it over Faith’s healing chest.
“Listen to that. That's strong, isn't it? That is the heart of a soldier.”
What the fuck was the woman getting at?
“A leader. A martyr.” The woman turned up the volume on the heart monitor.
Faith was happy for the woman, that she was getting off on trying to psychologically torture Faith like this.
Except it wasn’t working, because Faith didn’t have a clue what cop chick was tormenting her about.
“He was quite a man, your brother Zack. He must've loved you very much...to make this sacrifice.”
“I don’t have a brother.” Faith said, rolling her eyes. The heart monitor gave away her terror. Pounding rapidly away. “Um, not to be boring, but The Mayor? Did I stutter?”
The woman paused, momentarily disconcerted. She clearly decided to keep going with what she thought screwed with Faith’s head. “But isn't it comforting to know that a part of him lives on in you? And that you've both come home to us? To me?”
Faith heard enough crap in her life without this shit too. “What the hell are you on, Lady? Did no one ever tell you to just say 'no'?”