Apprenticed in trade I was bound
Title: Luck of the Irish
Disclaimer: Faith etc created by Whedon, Connor etc created by Duffy. I do not own, please do not sue.
Characters: Faith, Connor M., Doyle, Murphy M., Xander, Wesley, Cordelia, Donna,
FFA Pairing: Faith/Connor
Timeline: BtVS goes AU after Faith says “New Watcher, screw that” in Bad Girls season 3.
Summary: Faith goes back to Boston and meets the Saints.
Warning: Characters say the word ‘fuck’ a lot, and make racist and homophobic statements. Which I the author do not endorse. Or practising unsafe sex come to think about it.
South Boston, February 2nd, 1999 Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Faith limped homeward down the dark road, it wasn’t the fact she’d been roughed up bad by vamps that was making her hobble, although her kidneys hurt like shit. Her uneven gait was due to the heel from her left boot snapping off during the melee, this kind of made her feel like a lopsided dork. She would have taken her boots off but there was snow on the sidewalk.
“Hey baby, wanna ride?” A car full of guys slowed beside the curb.
“Piss off.” Faith snapped at them.
“You look a spaz with the way ya walkin’.” The guy leaning out the passenger window pointed out helpfully. “We was just being charitable to the neighborhood retard.”
Faith would normally have grabbed her house key out of her pocket to score the hood of the jerks’ car. This would have lead to the occupants piling out of the car eager to string her up and Faith being able to lay into them in return with much satisfying face pulping.
Frustratingly the guys screeched off in their car searching for more congenial game while Faith hesitated.
Dammit. If she hadn’t received that anonymous note in her locker at the meat plant today….
Faith walked up the steps to her narrow, run down, three storey wooden frame home and unlocked the front door. A ginger cat tried to bolt to freedom as she opened the door but she smartly nudged it back inside with her foot. She tugged off her boots and dumped them in the shoe basket by the door. She shrugged off and then hung up her leather coat on a peg. She unwound her woolen scarf from her neck and walked into the kitchen.
Meowing felines twisted demandingly around her ankles until she poured clinking showers of expensive cat biscuits into a row of bowls beneath the kitchen bench.
“I’d hope you choke but we can’t have that.” Faith informed the guzzling cats bitterly.
Faith next walked into the tiny front parlor room intending to light a fire in the small grate.
Except there was a fire burning in the grate already.
Faith pulled a switchblade out of her back jeans pocket and stared coldly at the strange man nestled on a faded floral patterned armchair, stroking a purring cat on his lap.
"I like the place. I mean it’s not much with the view, but it has a nice kitsch air of the old country to it." The man in his mid-twenties gestured to the row of china leprechauns on display on the mantelpiece. “You realize the little people don’t exist, unlike vampires? Which I’m not, coming in uninvited as I did,” his words were spoken with a Dublin lilt to them.
Faith wasn’t expecting a comment on her residence’s interior decoration scheme from a scruffy Irish home invader. “My dearly departed Nana’s souvenirs there, pal, not mine. Who the hell are you and what do you want?”
Doyle stroked the cat on his lap, "Francis Doyle at your service, I take it you took note of my little love letter to you?"
“Coulda done,” Faith’s switch blade glinted in the flicker of the flames burning in the grate.
"Now that’s unnecessary.” Doyle frowned at the knife pointed in his direction. “I’ve been sent to help you by The Powers That Be.”
“I’m callin’ the cops.” Faith sneered at him and walked over to the telephone on the wall, “Freak.”
“Hang on a mo, let me tell you a little fairy story first.” Doyle appealed, “You’re the heroine of it so you’ll be finding the tale to your interest.”
“Kinda outgrew the Grimm Bros by second grade.” Faith paused nonetheless from dialing 911. How had this guy known she would have got into a fight with the dicks in their car if he hadn’t written her a warning letter?
Doyle began his explanation. "Once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in Boston.”
“Sounds like the beginning of Charlie’s Angels
.” Faith scoffed skeptically, perching down on the back of the sofa. She was a sucker for hearing about herself.
“She didn’t have a wicked stepmother but her own mom was bad enough and she never knew exactly who her old man was, and then when she was sixteen, three things happened to her, her mom died from cirrhosis of the liver, she dropped out of high school and she found out she was a potential slayer.” Doyle kept petting the cat calmly. “You got a spare beer on tap? It’s coming to the long bit and I’m inclined to wet my whistle for this part.”
“What, do I look like a freakin’ barmaid?” Faith snorted. “Just keep going.” She couldn’t work out this guy’s angle.
Doyle smirked and kept on with his recount of Faith's life.“So she moved in with her watcher and apart from dedicating herself to her potential slayer training, worked very half heartedly in very tedious occupations, waitressing, retail, fast food drive through, office cleaning, getting fired from them all for the next two years, and then when she turned eighteen she became the chosen one - a vampire slayer.”
“Ya from the Watchers Council,” Faith sighed in disgust, thinking falsely she now understood who Doyle was. “I told that Limey queer Pryce and now I’m tellin’ you. I don’t answer to some crap organization that takes away a chick’s super powers and then locks them in a building with some psycho vamp. Happy eighteenth birthday I don’t think.”
“The Watchers Council wouldn’t be recruiting the likes of me.” Doyle assured her. “But you got on fine with your first watcher.”
“She gave me a roof over my head.” Faith guessed her first watcher would have betrayed her with a many happy returns stunt if Faith had been called before she turned eighteen, like Giles had Buffy. That hurt when Faith figured it out, “A better one than my recent shit-hole the Council funded.”
“The Council are notorious tight arses - like you.” Doyle went on unperturbed. “I’m not believing you don’t have a spare pint lying around the place.”
“DTs about to hit?” Faith removed a piece of dirt from under a short thumbnail with her knife. “Get to the point.”
“You’ve quit working under the Council, you claimed you’re a big girl now and don’t need them anymore. Home girl’s come back to the old neighborhood to be a lone warrior against evil. ” Doyle continued, “But the rub is you do need someone, Faith, or you’re going to wind up killing a human being by mistake one day. And you’re going to think, hey, what does it matter? I’m still ahead by the numbers in saving people.”
“Off you first, maybe?” Faith frowned at the guy’s clothing that taste forgot. “That’s a real clear and present danger if you don’t get the hell out right now.”
“Faith my darling, your soul is in clear and present danger if you don’t listen to me. If you don’t have a beer handy in the house, which I’m doubting by the way, can we visit your local after you kick me out on the street?” Doyle suggested eagerly, “I’m still needing to explain about my crippling visions that can be your salvation.”
“No way I’m gonna be seen in public with you.” Faith admittedly did scare herself sometimes - what she might be capable of when she got all worked up. “Let’s go to the liquor store and pick up some booze. And for Christ’s sake don’t let out a cat, you didn’t gettin’ into the place didja?”
“No,” Doyle gently pushed the cat off his lap. “What’s the story with the moggies - you have three of them?”
“Five,” Faith stood up. “And you tell your story first, remember? Like how the hell did you get inside?”Sunnydale, January 9th, 1999 Our Lady’s SaturdayFaith lay spread eagled on the double bed of her cheap hotel room enjoying Barry the banker going down on her. Banging a banker – hey, it worked. Faith had blown off B. to do some blowing herself – so sue her. Buffy would be having a great birthday blow out with her old man, last Faith heard.
Barry’s cell phone tinkled, he pushed himself off Faith and the bed and answered the call.
What the fuck?
Faith lay still and listened to Barry talk on his phone. He told whoever was on the other end he’d be home in an hour.
Barry went industriously back to oral work. His cell phone trilled again. Barry answered it once more. He lay back on the bed beside Faith who had closed her legs firmly by this stage, and talked on his cell soothingly.
Faith could hear a female voice as Barry sprawled beside her on the bed and carried on patiently his conversation with the mystery caller.
“Sorry, Faith - my wife, she can be so incredibly rude you know?” Barry put his cell on the bedside table.
Barry the cunt was married!
That was wrong. Barry should pay for screwing around on his wife.
Doyle and Faith walked back to her house from the local liquor store.
“Blackmail, Faith, that’s how you paid for your airfare back East.” Doyle did not enjoy receiving that particular vision, it had left him with a bad migraine. It had been vile seeing Faith as a kid being used as a punching bag by her mother as well.
“Blackmail - ugly word, lover,” Faith didn’t give a damn. This Doyle guy seemed the real psychic deal however. Someone to watch out for her… it was far too good to be true.
Nothing in her life ever went according to plan, possibly because she never bothered making up a plan in the first place.
“Ugly – funny you should say that.” Doyle was carrying a bottle of whiskey in a brown paper bag; he took a swig and passed it over to Faith. "It’s not all about killing ugly demons and bumping uglies. It’s about trusting people, believing that there’s love and kindness still left in the world and showing them that, too."
A homeless man came up and asked Doyle for some change.
"Get a job, you useless parasite.” Doyle sneered to the toothless wretch. He retrieved the bottle back from Faith. “It’s about letting people into your heart. It’s not just about saving others lives - it’s about saving your own soul.”
“So if this is not some latest lame way to get into my pants, who the hell are the Powers That Be?” Faith struggled to understand these forces of mystical good that wanted her to be morally safe and not kill folks by accident.
Doyle shrugged. "I’m honestly not sure. They don’t speak to me direct. I get visions, which is to say, great splitting migraines that come with pictures, a name, a face, apart from the info overload that was your life and sent me begging at every drugstore in San Francisco for codeine. I don’t know who sends them. I just know whoever sends them is more powerful than me or you, and they’re just trying to make things right."
"Why me?" Faith persisted suspiciously. Oh, she so wanted to believe.
"Because you’ve got potential, ex-potential,” Doyle elaborated. “And the balance sheet isn’t exactly in your favor of successfully keeping on the straight and narrow."
"Well, why you, huh?" Faith would have expected some angel in a white dress carrying a harp to show up to her spiritual intervention - not some Irish guy with a gift of the gab and a strong craving for the booze.
"We all got something to atone for.” Doyle hedged.
“Not me, uh uh,” Faith always thought The Universe owed her big time for life with Mommy – the most useless, drunken, abusive, excuse for a mother you could get.
“The way you treated Alexander Harris,” Doyle reminded her reproachfully, “Cruel.”Sunday 24th January 1999, 3rd Sunday after EpiphanyFaith didn’t expect anyone to see her off at the Sunnydale Airport and instead she got a freaking farewell party. The only thing missing from her send off seemed to be a brass band and the only person Buffy.
She knew Willow would be glad to see the back of her. Mini-Witch didn’t like how close Faith and Buffy had become.
Buffy had important solo slaying to do tonight now that Faith was leaving Sunnydale, with Wesley evaluating her technique.
Yeah, right. What was B. afraid of? There might be tongues involved if Faith kissed Blondie good bye? Well, maybe. Part of the reason why Faith was leaving Sunnydale if truth be told, suffering unrequited love always sucked but when it involved Faith having the hots for a high school senior chick?
Too fucked to think about – run away.
Plus the joys of killing time in Sunny-dull had worn mighty thin by January ‘99. There were vamps to dust back in Boston, plus free accommodation if with strings attached and Faith was needed back East as much as she was on a West Coast Hellmouth. Faith should have been sorry if that screwed up B.’s college plans and all, but she wasn’t.
Xander was holding out a tiny teddy bear and a ‘bon voyage’ balloon to her. Faith took them from him with a distracted grunted 'thanks', (a teddy bear – cute for real, but what was she meant to do with it and the damn balloon on the freaking plane? Faith had never flown on an airplane before and was all excited about it inside) Faith was still hoping for Buffy to show up at the last minute.
Faith’s flight number was called, leading to Xander trying to kiss her good-bye in front of everyone. Caught off guard and not liking it Faith had laid into him, sharing with Willow, Oz, Giles and Devon (she’d banged Devon a lot between sets at the Bronze, Faith had a weakness for musos), - how Xander had been an overly quick dud in bed (not entirely true - the guy showed promise) and his pathetic little plan to get a stud rep from screwing her wasn’t gonna work now.
Willow brimmed tears in her eyes at Faith’s tactless bombshell. Faith didn’t get why wolf-boy put up with her. If Willow wanted Xander so bad nothing was stopping her screwing him, (uh sorry, ‘make love’) certainly not Faith.
Faith shook hands with Giles, waved at Willow who was disappearing off to the airport restroom to cry (for fuck’s sake), made an awkward ‘see ya’ face at Oz and then played tonsil hockey with Devon just to make Xander feel even more bad, (because Faith was feeling bad about leaving B.), Devon - stoned as usual, didn’t realize he was adding to Xander’s humiliation by having this last groping session with Faith.
When Faith looked up from kissing Devon, Xander had disappeared.
Faith had boarded her plane and hadn’t given Xander a second thought until now.
“Oh, yeah,” Faith gave Doyle an incredulous stare, as she unlocked the door to her house once more. “Hey come on, you don’t seriously expect me to give a shit?”
“No,” Doyle shook his head, he didn’t really give a crap about Xander’s harsh treatment by Faith either. “I’m just using that example to point out what a bitch you are.”
“So how am I supposed to make up for that?” Faith once more softly kicked back a would be escaping feline. “Write Harris and tell him I’m sorry?”
“Can you actually read and write?” Doyle sounded genuinely surprised rather than cutting, “Sounds as good a place as any to start the atonement process I suppose. Hey, you got any food handy?”
Faith smiled at him sweetly, “Feel free to help yourself to an open can of cat-food, pal.”Noland’s Meat Plant, South Boston, St Valentine’s Day,1999
The McManus brothers had been in Boston for exactly one year now. The bustling Eastern Seaboard metropolis was a far cry from their small hometown in Ireland.
The two twenty-six year old, heavily tattooed, fraternal twins were reasonably good looking, very intelligent when they weren’t hungover from their drinking bouts and popular with almost everyone at their job in a South Boston meat plant.
Whistling a U2 ditty, Connor McManus opened his locker to retrieve his lunch in the staffroom. He and his brother Murphy had recently moved that morning into nearby illegal loft accommodation that was cheaper than their previous boarding house – ipso facto - more drinking money. Correspondingly Connor was in a cheerful frame of mind.
A shower of bloody beef hearts cascaded onto the floor the second he opened the metal door, landing with splats at his feet in a gruesome gory pile.
“Hey, Connor, be my valentine, asshole!” Faith called out from across the room. She slapped hands in triumph with another female plant worker.
Connor’s last practical joke – recreating the prom scene from Carrie
, by placing a bucket of pig’s blood over the door to the female workers washroom had not been appreciated by the women at the meat plant.
“I’m thinking Faith likes you.” Murphy McManus encouraged his brother as he crouched and helped Connor clear up the carnage.
“Well I’m thinking you’re mistaken in the matter,” Connor shot a furtive glance at Faith stirring sugar into her coffee and reading a letter. “She’s still a wee bit pissed off at me for sticking that false finger into her meat grinder last week.”
Murphy shook his head. “She didn’t seem ta be frightened by it, but it was fuckin' odd the way she pulled out her cross and said ‘Okay, where the hell’s the demon?’ don’t ya think?”
“I’m hoping that shows she knows where a local church is, because Ma was insistent we attend fuckin' Mass regularly and we still haven’t found a priest that can deliver a decent hellfire and brimstone sermon since we arrived in Boston.” Connor remembered. “Let’s ask her.”
The two brothers completed their cleaning up of the beef hearts and joined their co-workers at the communal lunch table.
“So would either of you ladies be knowing of a good local church, with a charismatic priest?” Murphy politely inquired of Faith and the other woman known as Mrs. O’Leary.
“Why, didn’t you guys get fiddled with enough by priests as kids?” Faith knew as soon as the words were out of her mouth she’d said the wrong thing.
The McManus brothers were devout Catholics. They both now wore disappointed looks on their honest faces.
Crap, Faith had intended to get all grabby with Connor the beefcake butcher sometime soon too. Oh well, win some, lose some.
She stuck her pen in her mouth and concentrated on replying to a letter from Xander. Xander seemed to want to be pen-pals with her now she’d written and apologized to him. Strange.
A/N: I normally try and be authentic with accents (whilst still making them legible to the innocent reader) but the McManus bros are total Hollywood creations and the movie was filmed in Vancouver with Canadians trying to do Boston Accents. So I’m sticking with the movie speech rather than genuine Irish contemporary dialog.