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Life is a Road...

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Oh, the people she knows...". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Looking into her birth records takes Faith not to Boston, but to Philly, of all places. A chance encounter leads to more mystery and deadly dangers... (Update to add cover art)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Faith-Centered
Marvel Universe > Blade
Television > Night Heat
(Current Donor)IronbearFR1833190,3063016866,05129 Sep 0718 Oct 13Yes

"Some people make do with a family dog... "

Chapter 2: "Some people make do with a family dog... "

They finished the meal comfortably, relaxing with coffee after the food was done. Since Faith had packed away a huge meal already before leaving the Marriott, she didn't have to explain why a five foot four-or-fiveish girl who looked like she might weigh 130 at best, dripping wet and even with her muscle, had the appetite of a line backer. No worries really: she could tell that there were parts of their stories the Winchester brothers were carefully editing out, and that was five-by-five with her. They could probably pick up the same with her - both brothers seemed pretty sharp - and they didn't pry either.

Secrets, secrets, all the gods children's gots secrets. And even the ones that probably weren't related to any gods at all...

"So you guys basically drift around the country looking for your dad?" Faith grinned at Dean, "and hustling pool for gas and food money?"

"Yeah, well.. when you put it like that... " He shrugged and laughed, "Does sound a bit weird, huh?"

"Among other things," Sam added. "We pick up work here and there when we set down for more than a day or so."

She nodded, "Not too weird. Just... different." Shrug, "S'ok. I like different."

"Sounds like you're doing similar, from what you said about passing through," Dean said. "Job? Or just road tripping?"

"Nosy," she observed, and then grinned when he looked a bit abashed. "S'allright. I'm nosing into your business a bit," she stated. "Neither, really... doing the same thing you guys are, kinda."

"Kinda?" Sam raised an eyebrow.

"Looking for my... sister." Faith shook her head, "Long story. No idea where she ended up or what name, we were... separated a long time ago. So I'm just kind of bumming around hoping I can stumble across something."

"Been at it long?" Dean asked.

"Just started really," Faith laughed with a rueful expression. "Philly's my first stop. Checking records here."

"Long time, no name... " Sam shook his head, "Will you even know if you run across something?"

"Should. She should look just like me and be the same age just about."

"Twins?" Dean looked intrigued by the idea. So did his brother.

"Something like, yeah."

"So when someone asks if there's any more at home just like you... " Sam raised an eyebrow, grinning. Dean shook his head and hit him on the shoulder with a muttered 'lame lame lame'.

"I can say 'Sure is'," Faith laughed again. "If I had a home and she was there, anyway."

"You don't seem to be hustling pool for a living like us," Dean said, ignoring Sam's eyebrow and 'Us, Kemosabe?' mutter. "So... " he trailed off.

"What do I do for a living?" Faith snickered. "I see you ran out of places to go with that. I could be mean." Dean looked a bit embarrassed and made a 'didn't mean anything' gesture. "I have money put back, and I get checks still from my former job. Not hurting for money unless I get spend happy."

"See? An independently wealthy biker babe and she likes you," Sam turned to Dean. "Now you can be a kept man and stop mooching off of my pool skills."

"Ignore him," Dean said. "He was dropped on his head as a child. Often."

"Oh, I don't know," she gave him an appraising look. "Might be interesting to have a Man Friday on the road. Are you keepable?"

He shook his head, laughing. "Are you always this direct?"

"That's not direct." She gave him a look with a bit of voltage. "When I'm direct, you'll know it." She grinned and Sam snickered.

The check had been delivered a long time ago by this point, and the waitress was starting to hover like she wanted to free up the table. Sam looked at the bill and peeled off money to cover it, then set down additional as a tip. They wended their way back out to the parking lot and stood by Faith's bike talking for a bit, breaths frosting in the chilled air. She threw a leg over and sat cocked across the saddle while they talked.

"That's a pretty nice ride," Sam checked the BMW over with obvious interest.

"Thanks. Custom. Old friend gave it to me." Faith cocked her head and gave him a curious look. "You ride?"

"Afraid not. Never had a bike, other than a dirt bike as a kid," he shook his head. "You're going to freeze going across country on that with winter coming on," he observed.

"I'll manage," She said, matter of fact. "Gets too bad, I'll hole up somewhere for a few days til it passes. I'm in no particular hurry."

"Good way to be," Dean nodded.

"Yeah." Giving lie to her 'no hurry' a bit, she put the key in and started the bike up, letting the engine warm. "Better be moving along now, though." She rested the helmet across her lap, checking the straps to stretch out a bit more time. Checking herself, inside, to see if she was sure about things. No, she decided. 'But sure is for wussies'.

"Well," Dean looked disappointed, slightly. More than slightly, maybe? "Good luck with your sister." Sam nudged him with an elbow, got shook off.

"Thanks." She paused, "Y'know... " She gave him a steady look as she pulled on the helmet. "I'm at the Marriott not far from here. And it has a nice, big bed in it." Paused again to let that register, then, "I can drop you off wherever your brother is staying if you need to move on tomorrow."

Elbow again from Sam. "I can take care of myself, you know."

Dean gave her an appraising look, "That would be 'direct', then." Faith nodded. "We don't even have a place to stay yet, Sam."

"Cell phone. Modern invention: I have one, you have one." Sam snickered, "Even if I was dropped on my head repeatedly, I can still manage to locate a motel and get a room, Dean."

Dean shook his head, fishing the car keys out of his jacket. "I'm going to regret this," he flashed Faith a grin. "Not regret you - regret turning this idiot loose on an unsuspecting world without a keeper."

"And with your car, mwahahaha!" Sam observed, snatching the keys out of his hand. "Ah - " he held up a hand. "I won't wreck it, I promise. Go."

Dean shook his head again, swinging a leg across behind Faith and holding onto her hips. "Better not. I'll wreck you." Sam stepped back out of the way grinning as she backed the big bike out of its space, then putting it in gear and taking off. Gave it just a little more gas than needed at the street to make him get a solid grip on her waist as they left.

.................................................................................

She stretched languorously later, enjoying the buttery feeling in her muscles and the pleasant aches elsewhere. Much later... not a bad way to kill a good part of a night.

Kind of nice, she thought. And interesting. Not necessarily the sex, although that had been more than interesting as well. What was interesting was lounging after with no real urge to bolt and run immediately or kick the guy out of her room. Six months with Robin had at least been good for something, she reflected. Like making her comfortable finally with spending the night with, after.

'Or else there really is something to the idea of sleeping with someone you kind of like,' she thought, 'rather than just the first vaguely attractive warm body that comes in reach.'

Dean gave her a quizzical look, propped up on one elbow looking down at her. She smiled and he reached up to touch between her eyebrows, probably the slight furrow there. "Something going on in there?"

"Yup," she nodded, solemn. "Deep thoughts."

"Good ones, I hope?" He grinned.

"Not bad," she nodded. "But I'll never tell," she grinned back.

He trailed his fingertips down along her face and cheek, pausing over the lips, and then down. Leaving a tingling trail behind, it felt like. He paused over her stomach, tracing the old, ugly scar there that even slayer healing hadn't gotten rid of.

"Nasty," he said. "That looks like it hurt."

"Just a bit," she agreed. She put her hand over his.

"What happened?" Eyes curious. He had wondered about her speed and strength in that bar fight, she knew, but he hadn't asked. Still hadn't.

"Old friend stabbed me there."

Slightly shocked look at that, then his eyes narrowed. "Some friend."

"We... had our rough spots," she said, eyes dark. "No big, any more. We got past it, mostly."

"Good thing," he shook his head. "Too many arguments like that would strain things a bit."

She laughed, "Oh... it did. Believe me."

"I'll bet," he said, voice dry, then laughed softly. Grinned. "This was kind of nice."

"Kind of?" She put on a hurt look, fighting a smile twitching at her lips.

"Ok, real nice. Incredible even." He laughed. "Pleasant surprise - not how I'd expected to end the evening."

"Me either," only a little lie there. She had been looking, but hadn't really been expecting to find. Reasonably nice guy, too, and not just looks. Maybe not 'want, cherish, keep' material, but definitely a cut above 'grab and roll'. No expectations, and not keep... at least not this time around. They both knew they were going to be heading their separate ways, either in the morning or in a day or so. Maybe if they crossed paths again in a few years, both older, and both having found what they were looking for...

"You and your brother going to be in Philly for a few days?" She surprised herself asking. At least there wasn't any needy tone, she was proud to notice. Just curiosity

"Probably not, no." He shook his head, obvious regret in the eyes. "We're on our way up to New York."

"Ah." She nodded, "In that case, waste not, want not." She sat up and took him by the shoulders, pushed him back, rolling over and settling on top of him looking down. Smiled, "Want, take, have," she growled softly. "You mind?"

.................................................................................

'Wow. That's one hell of a girl,' Dean Winchester thought. 'Might not hurt anything to spend another day or two in Philly before heading up north.' Woman, not girl, he corrected himself. There was something a lot older there than the nineteen or so Faith claimed for herself... attitudes, carriage, outlook. And at the same time, she could suddenly grin in delight at something and look about fifteen. He didn't think it'd be too hard to talk himself into putting off leaving for New York for a few days. Probably not that hard to talk Sam into agreeing. It had been a long time since Dean had wanted to spend more than a night with someone.

'Getting too soft for the road life, Dean?' he wondered. 'Don't get too attached, you have things to do yet.' He listened to the sounds of Faith in the bathroom of the small suite and grinned. After their last bout of lovemaking followed by gentle conversation, she'd decided to get up and grab a bath before they made decisions on sleep or more.. not sleeping together. No shower before - they'd barely made it up to the room before tearing into each other. Left a trail of clothes all the way from the front door... he was going to need a new shirt before they hit the road again. Old one had maybe a short life as a car rag now, if that. Maybe violence and adrenaline really does kick it off, sometimes.

That got a frown going, remembering that bar fight. Tons of things about Faith that he still didn't know, and hadn't wanted to ask outright. It's not like he and Sam didn't have areas they didn't want pried into. But, there was more than just the 'older than her years' enigma to the young woman. Like why her eyes had that look that he'd seen in combat vets when he caught a look at her at unguarded moments. Where she learned to fight like that - he hadn't bought the glib explanation about picking it up around any more than Sam had. And the glimpses of strength and almost inhuman speed... He didn't think Sam had noticed some of that, he'd been too busy grabbing his winnings and dodging a pool cue. Dean though had watched her grab and throw a man almost a foot and a half taller and over twice her weight over six feet into another one. By the shirt collar and belt, yet. And she'd stopped that cue, dead, without flexing more than her forearm, then twisted it out of the hands of another pretty good sized man like taking a switch from a four year old.

He'd been over as close to every inch of her body at this point as was possible, and while there was muscle there, and tone, sure, there wasn't the kind of muscle mass that could do that. He didn't think a female body builder could pull that off. Or some male body builders...

An odd sound from the bath room and splashing - not bathing splashes either - brought him out of his reverie. And a low choking scream from the same place brought him out of bed and onto his feet racing the short distance, caroming off of a wall corner and cursing himself for leaving all the weapons with Sam.

Shock brought him up short at the bathroom doorway, cursing. Faith was pinned, impossibly, to the ceiling, mouth moving soundlessly and eyes going dark. And blood dripping slowly from the knife scar on her abdomen onto the wet floor. Christ... was that damned thing going to stalk both of them forever, a constant threat to anyone he or Sam touched or cared about? Just as it had his father and grandfather?

"Let her go, you bastard!" Fists balled and shouting futilely. Screaming wasn't going to help. Problem was... nothing he could think of was going to, either. No time to set up an exorcism - based on The Demon's previous possessions, Faith would burst into flames any moment, and be dead...

Faith's body arched suddenly against the ceiling, eyes going from almost white less and pupil less black to golden. Then glowing gold as she snapped forward at the waist, hands fisting. Dean stepped back, shocked, as a wordless snarl came out of her and then her hands crackled with some sort of green electrical glow and a pair of weird, wickedly curved double blades appeared in her fists. From out of nowhere - empty hands a second ago.

Whatever held her pinned to the ceiling fell away suddenly, like breaking a wire harness and she dropped, twisting to land crouched on the balls of her feet. Improbably not slipping in the water and blood on the floor and falling.

"Get the fuck out of me... " came out of her mouth in a low growl, nothing at all like the throaty sexy growling sound she'd made earlier. A predator's snarl. A black, oily smoke like substance began pouring out through her mouth and nose, almost coalescing into a humanoid form... before one of those weird blades arced through it from what would have been shoulder to hip if it'd been a man and it dispersed. Wafting away as if it'd never been there. She collapsed forward, coughing then, and landed on one knee and the knuckles of one hand, other blade held back by her head in a ready position.

He started to rush forward then, and those lambent eyes pinned him in place and that same growl said, "Stay back." There wasn't anything he recognized as human in those eyes, and he did, hands out, palms out. Trying to project calm and 'not threat' while his insides were doing flip flops

There seemed to be some sort of inner struggle going on there, and after a few long minutes, those eyes went dark brown again instead of golden, and there was another green crackle and those odd blades disappeared again.

Faith looked back out at him then, the woman he'd been holding and laughing with a short time ago, and she put her hand out and said, "Give me a minute... jeeze." She shook her head, "What the fuck was that thing?"

.................................................................................

"You could call it our family demon, I guess," he said, watching her dry her hair sitting cross legged on the bed a short distance from him. Neither of them had thought to put clothes on, he realized suddenly. It hadn't seemed important. "It's been stalking our family for a long time... It killed our mother, and someone... else close to us." She gave him a sharp look at that, but didn't ask.

When he'd helped her up and helped her clean off a bit, they'd discovered the old scar had closed up again and wasn't oozing blood any longer. And no managers or hotel security - they evidently hadn't made enough noise to disturb anyone else nearby, even with all that, thank gods.

"You know, some people make do with a family dog," she remarked.

"I wish we could," he gave a horrid sounding laugh. "It'd be a lot less wear and tear on the people around us." She gave him a sympathetic look, then shook her head.

"So... demon keeping's the family business or something?"

"Or something... after my mom died, our dad took off hunting it." He shrugged, "Then after we discovered it was still haunting us, Sam and I went looking for him, and trying to figure out how to track and kill this thing along the way." A good enough summation, he thought. It left out way too much in details, but it still covered the basics. Hell... he owed her that much.

Faith laughed, "Great. An entire city full of guys, and I get the hots for one of the only two other demon hunters in a ten mile radius. It figures." She gave him a wry half grin. Ok, weird Not too freaked out, and taking all this way too much in stride...

"Yeah, demons and other things. We seem to keep stumbling across weird crap where ever we go," Dean shook his head, then frowned. "Wait a minute: 'other demon hunters'?"

She quirked an eyebrow and the grin got even more wry, "Yup. Faith. Slayer. That would be me." That got a blank expression from him, so she elaborated, "The Slayer. Traditionally, it's supposed to be 'Vampire Slayer', but Demon Slayer is more descriptive. I don't think it's ever been just vampires since I was Called."

Dean frowned, "Vampire Slayer? The Slayer? You say that like it's a title or something." He still had a somewhat blank expression.

"Doesn't ring any bells, huh?" She laughed, "It should: it falls under 'professional knowledge' for a demon hunter. Then again, I've never heard of anything like your pet demon, so we're even up."

"Please, not a 'pet'," he objected. "Or if it is, it's the kind that eats your hometown after you accidentally feed it after midnight."

"Cool movie, but they ruined it with the sequel," Faith said. "Look... I really don't feel like doing 'The Speech' right now, so can we table that part?" He raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "Just... take it as a given for now: I'm a Slayer - someone who's a descendant of a line of young girls that some ancient shamans bound the essence of a demon hunting being into millenia ago. Mystical senses, ability to sense demons and supernatural creatures, more than human strength, reflexes, and healing abilities. I know you saw me in that bar fight... ?" Dean nodded. "Part of the package. It came on me when I was fifteen. An ancient demonic vampire killed my first... guardian, then chased me across the country to California were I went looking for help. I was running from it when I ran into your father, way back when."

"Ok... so," He shook his head. "So that was why the bit with the weird blades and glowing eyes?" She raised an eyebrow and he added, "I've never seen anything like that. What the hell did you do to get that thing out of you?"

"My eyes glowed?" Faith looked nonplussed.

"Yeah. Went from dark to gold, and then glowing gold. And this snarl came out of you."

"Wow. No one's ever told me that before. Wicked." She frowned, "Slayer essence... the essence of the thing that makes us what we are. The other part of me evidently didn't like the new tenant and evicted him. It."

"Ah. There's something about that in the 'The Speech' thing you mentioned?" He looked at her. Faith nodded, sober.

"Maybe," She looked thoughtful. "I've never heard that a slayer couldn't be possessed. But I've never heard of one being possessed either. Probably some gaps in my knowledge." She shook her head, smiling, "But yeah, there's more to it. Just like there's more to your demon history than the capsule version you gave me."

"Yeah... guess both of us were keeping secrets, huh?" Dean shook his head. "Look... I'd better go. I'm a threat to you as long as we're together." He paused, remembering how he'd gotten there. "I can call Sam and wake him up to come get me."

"No. Don't... " She leaned forward and put her hand on his knee. "It's marked me now, right?"

He considered it, then nodded, eyes dark. "Maybe. Probably... most people don't survive it."

"Then it's a threat whether you stay or not, so stay," Faith smiled. "You have no idea how rare it is for me to not kick someone the hell out immediately after, much less ask them to stay over. I'd rather not sleep by myself the rest of the night."

"All right," he said, finally. Dean felt a half smile come over his lips, "It's an offer that's hard to refuse from a naked, gorgeous woman."

"Gorgeous, huh? I may keep you - you're good for my ego," she cocked her head, smiling. "You're not afraid of me, are you." Statement, not a question, and Dean considered it. Had to... incredible sex or not, this was a woman he'd seen take down several men twice her weight in seconds. And that he'd seen turn into some sort of weird predator thing with glowing eyes when she'd... evicted the demon from her body, then growl at him waving him off until she got herself back under control. Hrrm, that... she had warned him off. And there'd never been a hint of threat from her toward Sam or himself.

"No. Not really," he said finally. "A bit freaked, but not afraid. You kept me back when whatever it was was going on with you until it was over... not the action of someone who's a threat."

"Cool," she said, and the full grin broke out over her face suddenly. "Always hard to tell how guys are going to react. If it comes back, we'll deal with it. Unless... " She got a thoughtful look, "Do you think I killed it? I don't sense it anywhere."

"Probably not, but who knows?" Dean shrugged. "As far as I know, there's only one thing that will kill it. But it's not much use in a situation like that."

Faith sighed. "Way it goes. Look... we can discuss all this tomorrow? Now I'm tired, my gut still feels shredded, and I'm nauseous. Been a rough night, the last thirty minutes or so - I'm ready to go to bed, you?"



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