As long as I want you, baby, it's all right
Faith wasn’t won over by the cabin in the woods rustic charms. Any dwelling where her daughter was being held hostage, wouldn’t cut it as far as she was concerned.
She lay on the ground sheltered by bushes, with a pair of binoculars pressed to her eyes and one of Jake’s hunting rifles by her side.
There were two cars parked outside the cabin. How many people were inside it?
Two only? Christ, Harris was under-funded. Where was the son of a bitch anyhow?
A sound ripped through the quiet of the woods.
Faith pulled out a stinging tranquilizer dart from her calf. Behind her, huh?
The room Faith found herself held captive in was small and claustrophobic.
“Nice to have you back on board again, Faith.” Xander patted her condescendingly on the shoulder as she sat tied up and glaring at him from on the floor. “The restraints will be taken off you, once you’re safely in England. And Caitlyn will be coming in to join you in a second. Can I get you anything? Coffee?”
“I need to call my fiancé, Harris.” Faith rolled her eyes. “I think he deserves to know why I’m not going to be freaking fa-la-la-ing around the dining table on the twenty-fifth.”
“Yeah.” Xander avoided meeting Faith’s eyes’. “Hate to be the bearer of bad news here. But he wouldn’t be in a position to be carving the turkey anyway.”
“What?” Faith had been trying to get hold of Jake constantly since she failed to meet him outside his store.
“He’s going to be sacrificed by Satanists at one o’clock this morning.”
“What the fuck?” Faith struggled frenziedly at her restraints. The bastards had even pre-bandaged her wrists so she wouldn’t hurt herself accidentally.
“It’s a small consolation to you, I know, but it’s for the greater good.” Xander paced backwards and forwards in front of her.
“You see, Faith, Canada, unlike the United States, doesn’t contribute a cent to the Watcher’s Council. Cheever Lake is on a closed Hellmouth. And importantly, across the lake, lies British Columbia.”
Faith fell on the ground. Maybe she could wriggle over to Harris and bite the shithead on the ankle.
Xander stood back as if psychic. “So if the Hellmouth is opened by Satan’s son’s blood, this means a portal for demons to have easy access to Canada. Canada will finally dip into their tight pockets and give us greenbacks or brown one-hundred dollar notes in the Frozen North’s case.”
“My fiancé has to die for your fucking fundraiser!?” Faith was going to kill Harris fast, reanimate him and then kill him slowly.
“It wasn’t my brainwave, Faith. I’m just here to ensure it all goes smoothly.” Xander truly hated his job sometimes. He naturally assumed Jake would be evil, but he saw he was possibly mistaken.
“Xander, Jake is a good man! I’m good, I’m not insane anymore.” Faith sat upright again, trying to appeal to the idealistic boy she once almost fell in love with.
“If you’re not insane, why are you marrying the son of Satan?” Xander pointed out reasonably.
A knock came on the door. Xander opened it to allow Collins to bring Caitlyn in.
“Because he’s the best guy I’ve ever met! And I’m completely one hundred percent mentally normal!” Faith insisted. Her mouth dropped open in horror at the sight of Caitlyn carrying Mr. Wilkins.
“Christ! Get that teddy bear away from her! He talks to her! He tells her to do things!” Faith screamed hysterically.
Collins and Xander shook their heads. Clearly Faith was still very mentally unwell. To calm her down they removed Mr. Wilkins from Caitlyn. They left Caitlyn with Faith and shut the door.
“Oh god, baby.” Faith kissed Caitlyn’s cheek as her daughter hugged her. “Don’t suppose you’re wearing a hairpin today, so you can pick the locks on my shackles?”
“Uh-uh.” Caitlyn dug into pocket. “Mr. Wilkins was upset you left this behind.” Caitlyn dug into her pockets and pulled out the soul switching device.
Sitting on an armchair by the fire burning in the cabin’s pot bellied stove, Xander stared at Caitlyn’s teddy bear thoughtfully. It seemed ordinary enough.
“Xander! Xander! I need to tell you something!”
Xander could hear Faith’s continued screams from behind the door of her locked room. He sighed. There was something so vulnerable and childlike about her tone of voice.
“I’ll handle this.” Xander informed Collins and Weatherby, pleasantly. “Maybe Caitlyn has a peanut allergy Faith needs to tell us about.”
Xander was astonished to see Faith’s face was streaked with tears when he entered the room she was kept prisoner in. Crocodile tears undoubtedly.
“What is it, Faith?”
“Caitlyn. She’s your daughter.” Faith gulped. “Look at her eyes. They’re yours, Xander.”
“Faith, you have brown eyes, too. The Mayor’s her father.” Xander scoffed. How typical of Faith to talk about eyes when he only had one left. “Not me, Faith.”
Faith seemed thrown by this accusation momentarily. She glanced over at a tense Caitlyn and tried once more.
“Look at her eyes, Xander.” Faith persisted. “Get close.”
Xander swallowed and squatted down in front of Caitlyn. He put his hand on the little girl’s shoulder and really looked at her. She was a feminine image of himself as a child.
“Holy Toledo! She is.” Xander touched Caitlyn’s face gently.
“You’re my daddy?” Caitlyn reached her hand up and sought Xander’s as it fell from her shoulder.
“Yeah, Caitlyn, guess I am.” Xander squeezed her hand reassuringly.
A blinding flash swapped their souls.
“You’re such a sucker, Harris.” Faith previously in Caitlyn’s body now occupying his, stared down at him. She clapped her hand over his now seven year old mouth.
“Slayer strength in a man’s body.” Faith hissed in his ear. “Should be interesting.”
“Mommy, I did what you said.” Caitlyn sniffed, tapping her mother on the arm as Faith untied her.
“Okay Caitlyn, you get your freaking teddy bear back.” Faith agreed reluctantly, it had been the only way to get Caitlyn to do what she asked. How naughty of her.
Faith had often day-dreamed over the years what it would have been like with Caitlyn’s father whoever he was, back in their lives.
This family road trip, where Xander was tied up in Caitlyn’s body and Caitlyn was in hers and she was still in Xander’s, was not how she imagined things. Although Caitlyn insisted on having her Barbie party mix play on the car stereo, so some things were the fucking same.
“So Caitlyn is my daughter?” Xander double checked. “Not the Mayor’s?”
“Yeah. And I liked you at the time, okay? We liked each other, Caitlyn.” Faith tried to make Caitlyn feel better about everything. Caitlyn had been very upset at witnessing Faith in Xander’s body knock out Collins and Weatherby.
“Then why didn’t Xander come looking for us, and why does he want to kill Daddy?” Caitlyn sucked her thumb for comfort. It looked weird seeing a twenty-six year old woman perform this action.
“I don’t personally want to kill Jake Gray. And I thought your mommy was dead.” Xander shot a foul glance at Faith. “Otherwise me and a lot of your mommy’s old friends would most definitely have tried to track her down before now.”
“You’re gonna help me though, right? Now you know Caitlyn’s your daughter?” Faith demanded. “Or else I’m gonna sue you for seven years backdated child support.”
“Sheesh, yeah. We’ll tell the Satanists to try dynamite to open the Hellmouth instead.” Xander held his tied hands up. “So can we all swap back into our own bodies now?”
A tied up naked, Jake Gray, found himself being hoisted up over a metal seal in the ground.
He always had the worst luck.
“Guys, this is so wrong.” Jake pleaded uselessly. He knew they realized it was wrong. There were thirteen members of a Satanist coven and two demons taking part in this ritual sacrifice.
Dakota and Connie had turned into total badasses since they had become demons, that was for real.
“Oh great Beezlebub, accept this unworthy offering. Open the conduit to Hell and let the satanic hordes cease having to use Greyhound buses to get to Cheever Lake and fly economy class to get to Canada.” The head Satanist beseeched his evil lord, he held up his rune inscribed silver knife, prepared to slit Jake’s throat.
“No stop!” Kate Lockley and Ivan Reisz burst into the cave. Kate brandishing her gun.
The ground rumbled, the seal slid open and a gigantic horned, spiked, reptilian, cloven hooved figure emerged from the ground.
“Satan!” The Satanists threw themselves prostrate on the cave’s floor in worship.
“Jesus Christ!” Kate crossed herself in horror.
Satan snarled, she held out her arm. Kate’s gun flew out of her hand and landed on the other side of the cave.
Satan morphed into an attractive, dark-haired, young woman in her mid twenties. She called herself Marisol while in this body and had been Jake's girlfriend while in disguise.
“Jake, it doesn’t have to be this way.” Satan kissed Jake tenderly on the mouth.
“Ptt, ptt.” Jake spat away the kiss. “Marisol, I know you’re my mother. It’s plain disgusting, okay?”
“Oh alright then.” Marisol’s image blurred and transformed to a short-haired woman in her mid-forties. “Better?”
“Much. But I’m still not joining you.” Jake steeled his voice. “I’m prepared to die rather destroy the world in an Armageddon by your side.”
“Yes, I know my son.” Satan untied him. “But blood’s thicker than water and I don’t want yours spilled.”
“Anne.” Ivan held out his hand to her.
“You’re looking good, Ivan.” Satan admired, ignoring his proffered hand. “Still playing squash?”
“I walk my dog lots.” Ivan helped Jake down from the steel frame he’d been tied to. “So you’re going to let Jake live?”
“He is not to be harmed, or my ire will be most terrible.” Satan told her followers. “Kill someone else, capiche?”
Satan transformed back into the beast and descended back into the ground. The seal closed behind her.
“Oh Fuck! She could've left it open.” Dakota complained to Connie. “Man, she’s so evil.”
“Well now what?” the Satanist Coven leader whined.
“Kill me.” Ivan stepped forwards. “Please, I’ve done terrible things. But don’t harm my son.”
“Duh! Satan just told us not to.” Dakota shook her head at the man’s stupidity. “Anyway, it can’t be a willing sacrifice. I know, kill her.”
“No! You sons of bitches.” Kate struggled frantically as she was seized and stripped.
“No!” Jake Gray twisted in his captors arms. “Leave her alone!”
“Yes, leave the lady alone.” Xander stepped forward into the cave, in an authoritive manner, Faith by his side. “I’m from the Watchers Council of Great Britain.”
“And?” The Satanist leader pulled back the sleeve of his black occult robe and looked at his watch. The planets would only be in alignment for three more minutes.
“We’re a huge multinational organization.” Xander went on. “We’ll give you dynamite and you can blow up the Hellmouth. I’m a former construction site foreman. I can get you great blueprints for an elevator shaft.”
“Sounds fucking cool!” Dakota tugged Connie’s arm. “What do you think?”
“No piped muzak in the elevator.” Connie suggested. “Even if it is coming directly from Hell.”
“No problem.” Xander guaranteed. “Come on guys, you’ll never get away with murdering Kate. Well the demons will. But none of the rest of you.”
“Yeah, true.” One of the Satanists said realistically. “What with the DNA detecting shit they show on C.S.I.”
Christmas Eve, Cheever Lake 2006
Faith and Jake drank their egg nog by the roaring fire in their living room, nestled on the couch together.
“So you’re going to accept the Council's offer, to pay you to be a full time slayer, here in Cheever Lake?” Jake pulled her feet over his lap. Faith wore her hair down all the time now and was far more inventive in bed. His birth father had been invited to Christmas lunch tomorrow. Things were going quite nicely for Jake for once.
“Yeah, Hellmouth’s open here now. I mean, Caitlyn needs guitar lessons.” Faith leaned back and snuggled into his arms.
Caitlyn came into the room. “I told you Mr. Wilkins isn’t evil, Mommy. The powers that be sent him to be my guardian angel as his second chance reward for loving you and making the buses run on time in Sunnydale. So where is he?”
“Where all angels should be at Christmas-time, Cait.” Faith pointed her hand to the corner of the room. “Look.”
Caitlyn gazed up in wonder at the decorated Christmas tree. There tied to the top pine frond stood Mr.Wilkins.
Christmas Eve, Seattle 2006
Christmas Eve in a singles bar. Where else would Xander Harris be? He’d run into a hot woman here, she was dark haired, a nurse and called Marisol.
“No. I’m gonna be working in Seattle in the construction industry. I want to be near my daughter. I’ve just found out she exists.” Xander pulled Caitlyn’s photo out of his wallet. “Cute huh?”
“Very,” Marisol held the photograph carefully. “And you only handed in your resignation from your old job today?”
He’d been fired. The New Watchers Council had been pissed off at how much money the Cheever Lake assignment had ended up costing them.
“Uh huh.” Xander spotted Kate at the far corner of the bar. “Excuse me, there’s someone I know over there.”
Xander came up behind Kate. “So I know you come here often. What are you doing for Christmas Day?”
“Whacking a TV dinner in my microwave.” Kate propped her chin on her hand. “What about you?”
“The same, I just landed the lease to an incredibly rundown dive.” Xander slid onto the stool next to her. “But in spite of the warning, do you wanna hang up your stocking at my place tonight?”
Satan sipped her wine and watched Xander and Kate start to make out. Damn. She’d been all set to let Xander impregnate her, to father a new Anti-Christ. Look how pretty Caitlyn turned out. Oh well, you won some, you lost some. Satan could always be counted on to be philosophical about things, and evil.
Thank you to all who reviewed and rec'ed. Most kind. Especially AllenPitt on this one.