Fellowship and Foul Play
Fellowship and Foul Play
“Look B, this isn’t working…” Faith leaned back in her chair, the phone cradled between her ear and her shoulder. “…Yes, I have tried…No…Look, just get one of the…You know, Vi or Shannon. They’re trained to handle this kind of command…Shannon, perfect…Yes, I’ll stay on to help her…Perfect, thanks B…Yeah, you too. Bye.”
Faith sighed in relief. She thought she’d have a harder type convincing Buffy to let her step down. It was true that any of the girls who’d survived Sunnydale were more than qualified to handle a city command, although New York was quite big. Besides, it wasn’t like she was planning on leaving. She just wanted the freedom to do so if she desired. Shannon was a good, competent girl, who would have no trouble running NYC HQ, and Faith doubted she’d really have to do much.
She sighed again, this time in frustration. The truth was she was bored. She wasn’t used to sitting around doing the bureaucratic stuff. She’d gotten enough of that in jail. She wanted to be free, a lone wolf hunter, flirting with danger again. She was getting soft, for God’s sake, with some of the girls getting close to being able to beat
her when they sparred. No one could beat her, not even B. – at least, no one should be able to.
A third, resigned sigh. Well, Shannon was coming, and she’d learn quick, hopefully. Maybe there would be opportunities for Faith to go off on her own, to find some Big Bad that needed stopping and do just that. Nothing too big, of course, but she could get that rush again, get back in shape. Yeah! She could do that. That would be fine, surely. She’d still be nearby, and if she got in trouble, she’d call for back-up – maybe. Yes, this could work.
She got up and headed to the training room with a new bounce in her step.§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
Logan got off the plane in New Windsor. Grumbling about ‘no personal flights in the Blackbird’, he retrieved his luggage and went out to meet whoever had drawn the short straw and would be driving him back to the mansion. He found a van with Bobby, Kitty and Piotr in it waiting outside. Ah, the old ‘if you do this one thing, you can have the van for the rest of the day’ gambit.
Logan smirked. Luckily, Piotr took up so much space, he and his girlfriend were in the back, so Logan quickly took shotgun. He sat in silence for almost the entire ride, half-listening to the kids prattle on about their lives.
“…no school girls around to ‘help’ us this time.” Bobby sounded smug, as if he himself had arranged for the school girls not to be around.
Logan’s ears perked up at this, and he smirked. “So you guys have been ‘rescued’ by these Slayers too, eh?”
The looks of shock on the three faces at his statement were priceless§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
“…so Amiko was safe and Natsumi got her disk thing back, and we parted on good terms. That’s it.” Logan crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall, watching the other occupants of the room. Once the kids had figured out he knew who the mysterious school girls were, there’d been a huge fuss, and a meeting had been called in the Professor’s office will all the senior X-Men. Logan was forced to tell the story of his encounter with the Japanese Slayer from beginning to end, while the looks of disbelief on the faces of the others grew. Only the Professor was immune, and he seemed deep in thought.
“So, they’re a bunch of girls who have super strength and speed, but aren’t mutants? And we’ve never heard of them before?” Scott sounded sceptical. He was disinclined to believe anything the Canadian mutant said, and this certainly sounded more farfetched than usual.
“Well, Natsumi said something about there being one or two, or something, for years and years, but now there are a couple thousand. It’s harder to hide those kind of numbers.”
“And they fight crime around the world?” Ororo questioned. She was sure that what Logan was saying was true, it was just confusing. “Alone and in groups?”
“She really didn’t want to talk about what
they did, but she let some stuff slip that sounded like magic or demons. Looked pretty worried after she’d said, like she didn’t want me to hear. Didn’t make much sense to me.”
“I have heard something about this in the past, many years ago.” The Professor steepled his hands in his lap. “I was called to Muir Island by Dr. MacTaggert because she thought she’d found a new mutant for my school. It seemed a young girl had been found dying in an alley, only to heal at an incredibly accelerated rate, and to attack her rescuers with a strength that seem far beyond that of a girl of her apparent age. She was delirious and therefore rather dangerous, and was brought to Moira in the hope that she could help. The girl, named Heidi, was raving about vampires and curses, saying she must stop them, that they’d killed someone named Burkitt. When she began to come around, these ‘delusions’ seemed to persist, as she begged Moira to let her go, so she could avenge her ‘Watcher’. She was still weak, so Moira advised against it, but Heidi eventually escaped. Moira mentioned that Heidi had repeatedly referred to herself as the ‘Slayer’, much like this girl you encountered, Logan.”
“There have been documented cases of people encountered demons and vampires, cases that have never been disproved.” Jean interjected. “I say we take this at face value, believe that there is something out there much like demons, whether supernatural or not. These girls seem willing to help us, and they certainly seem able. I think we should contact them, find out more about them, and see how we can help in return. It’s like the Professor said last week, mutant friendly allies are never a bad thing to have.”
“Natsumi said something about them being based in Cleveland, pretending to be a girl’s school.”
“Then that’s where we start.”§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
“Ms. Summers, there’s a call for you on line 3.”
Buffy looked at the ID, saw the New York number, and snatched up the phone. “Faith, this better be…Oh, I’m so sorry sir…I see…Hmm…Where did you hear of us?...Yes, yes...That’s very true.” As Buffy listened, her eyes grew, and then a smile started to creep across her face. Faith was bored, was she? Tired of doing paper work? This would be just up her alley…“Salem Center, New York, you say? Actually, we have a branch in New York City, much closer. I’m sure that’s where your help has been coming from…Yes, I’m sure they’d love to talk to you…Very friendly, yes…Alright, I’ll tell them you’re coming…Thank you sir.”
She hung up and picked up the phone again. “Carly, get me Faith please…Hey ‘F’, how are you?...You know those weird superhuman attacks that have been happening all over the country? I’ve got an inside source on who these criminals are and why they’ve got such power…I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about ‘mutants’ that’s been going around…Exactly…Actually, some of them want to meet you…Oh, in the next week, I’d say…Play nice, Faithy.” She laughed as she hung up again. I’m sure she’ll be getting me back for that, but it’ll be a long time coming. In the meantime, she’s got some Slayer-Mutant interpersonal relations to work on.§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
Faith was fuming as she put down the phone. So she was going to have to play nice with the mutants? They were probably really creepy looking. God knows that’s how her girls had described them. Frog-like, way too many limbs, or in weird costumes to hide their deformities. Still, if she dealt with the properly, there was no way B. could stop her from taking some time off. She’d have earned it.
Time off to plan her revenge. Buffy wouldn’t know what hit her.§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
After some argument, it was decided that only three people would accompany the Professor to New York. Logan was going, saying he had the most experience with Slayers, and Jean because she believed she knew the most about these vampire and demon legends. The trouble would be finding the third person. Scott had to stay behind to watch the school, and Ororo would be helping him. Unfortunately none of them could agree on who it would be. Ororo thought it should be someone young, to help them seem less threatening, as well as to show that they too trained children. Scott wanted someone with a more visible mutation, to counteract the fact that the other three looked quite human. He didn’t give any reasons as to why he thought this was a good idea. Logan wanted someone strong, with a good offensive mutation, in case things went wrong. The others frowned on this suggestion that there could be danger, especially from the man who’d instigated the whole thing. Neither Jean or the Professor weighed in with their opinions.
It was at this minute than Rahne Sinclair, also known as Wolfsbane, decided to knock on the door of the Professor’s office. As she stuck her head around the door, she found five people staring at her with growing smiles on their faces.
“Rahne, how would you like to go to New York?”
There was something in Professor Summers voice that made her hair stand up. She gulped reflexively.
Faith was nervous, and she was nervous, she hit things. She’d gone through three punching bags already and the SITs were staying well out of her way. With one final punch, she sent the bag flying into the wall, its chain broken. The mutant contingent was due to arrive in an hour, and she still had to shower and change.
Forty-five minutes later, she was pacing nervously in front on the door. Her hands were clenching and un-clenching, and it was plain she hadn’t gotten the urge to punch things out of her system yet. Claire and Rachel were whispering about something, and giggling, while Jaz and Cassie stood against one wall looking worried. The fifth team leader, Erin, was in Brooklyn with her girls, putting down a large nest that had been discovered the night before. The other four thought she was getting off easy.
They all froze as the sound of a very powerful knock reverberated through the lobby. Trepidated, Rachel walked slowly forward and opened the door.
Whatever they’d seen fighting in the streets had not prepared them for the sight in front of them. A long low whistle broke the hush.
“He’s hot.” blurted Claire
Faith had to agree. From what her girls had told her, she’d been expecting creatures with blue skin, three eyes or oozing slime. The cultured looking man in the wheelchair, the smiling redhead at his side, and especially the ruggedly handsome man now glaring at Claire, were nothing like any of her imaginings. Even the slightly feral looking girl lurking behind them looked no more wild than half the girls who’d been brought in from a life on the streets. Faith realized she was going to have to re-evaluate everything she’d been planning with respect to dealing with them.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward. “Hi, I’m Faith. You must be the X-Men.”
As one, the group in the doorway seemed to relax and the redhead’s smile suddenly seemed more genuine. The young girl was still lurking, but she seemed like the type to be suspicious of her own mother. Faith breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.
Jean relaxed as she heard the dangerous looking brunette introduce herself in a light hearted way. As Charles wheeled himself forward and introduced himself in return, Jean breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§¤§
It turned out the ruggedly handsome man was called Logan, but went by the name of Wolverine, and every other thing about him lived up to his wildly exciting exterior. The moment the X-Men had entered the mansion, Faith had sized him up and decided she liked what she saw. While the others had gone to settle in, she’d approached him and now here they were, sweaty and breathing hard.
“You’re…amazing.” Faith panted. “I mean, I could tell you had some mad skills when I met you, but – whew. I am sore in places I didn’t even know existed.”
“You weren’t too bad yourself.” A quick flash of sharp canines, and Faith was feeling up for round four. A loud knock at the door was the only thing that ‘saved’ Logan, although he didn’t look too relieved.
“This better be good.” Faith growled.
“Erin and Cassie sent me. They said to tell you that the Professor has a situation that needs your attention.” The voice of Alyssa, one of the junior Slayers came through the door. “And – uh – Erin said you can get your kicks later, and that, uh, she didn’t know you were so desperate for a good – uh…”
“It’s OK, Lyss, I get the picture.” She turned to Logan, shaking her head. “Dirty minds, all of them.”
“If Chuck says he needs you, he needs you.” He started to get up purposefully.
“Alright Lyss, tell the girls I’m coming. I just got to clean up” She called back through the door. “Guess we have to continue this later, huh?”
Logan raised his eyebrows and leered at her. “Why were you so – desperate for a good ‘uh’?” He imitated Lyssa’s hesitation.
“Are you kidding? My girls may be the best, but most of them have only been training for about three years. I’ve been a Slayer for almost eight, and most of that was as the evil half of the Chosen Two. Only a handful of Slayers can give me a real challenge and none of them have been by lately.”
“Well, glad to be of service.” He smirked over his shoulder as he walked out.
After a quick shower, Faith went downstairs to find everyone standing around a small laptop, staring at the screen intently as Jean tapped away at the keyboard. They all seemed tense, but Faith recognized the tension, at least her girls, as the kind that comes just before a big fight. She knew that whatever she found on the screen wasn’t going to be pretty, judging from the anger that was evident in the some of the shoulders. As she approached, Logan turned towards the sound of her footsteps. The fury in his eyes made her stop for a moment before hurrying over. More heads turned and the same rage was reflected in their faces, both Slayer and mutant.
“Alright, what the hell has happened?” she demanded. The response she got was a unanimous parting, allowing her to see the screen finally. At first, she thought she was looking at the feeds from four security cameras, as each quadrant of the screen was taken up by a grainy picture of a sleeping teenager. Her throat contracted as she realized that the pictures were still, probably from a newspaper, and that the subject of each photo was not sleeping, but, in fact, dead – most likely from the stake shoved through their hearts.
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