Of Buffy and Faythe
A/N: Sooooo, we're back. Mostly. And determined to at least get through Stray with this fic, maybe add Rogue as well. Thanks for all those reviews and encourangements that kept dropping in. Beta-thanks to Anneliese.
And now, back by popular demand:
+3, Of Buffy and Faythe
I was sitting in my Daddy’s office, listening to him go about how I was not going back to school because it was too dangerous. How I’d had my five years of freedom and that had to be enough because I had responsibilities toward the pride and my family. All because I was a tabby and not a tom. My duty, thanks to the fact that female werecats were so much rarer than males, was to pop out half a dozen babies and live happily ever after.
And the reason I was back home in the first place? I certainly hadn’t gone home for summer hols, knowing that my chances of getting away again were slim to none. No, Marc, one of my father’s Enforcers and my ex-fiancé had come to drag me home because one of my fellow tabbies had disappeared and everyone was spooked now, thinking she’d been kidnapped by a rogue, a cat without a pride. I was pretty sure she’d run off to avoid getting married and right she was. More power to her.
Michael and my mother were sitting on the sofa, my father in his favourite armchair and I was standing in the middle of the room, wanting nothing more than to go back to campus and pretend I was a normal student. If I’d been one of my brothers, Daddy would have let me go without a fight! But because I wasn’t, he’d actually posted Marc in front of the door to stop me from running. Damn them all.
Marc suddenly lurched forward as the door behind him opened, handle digging in his back. I couldn’t help the miniscule smile that crossed my face. Served him right. He moved aside enough for someone I had never seen before to slip in. She was tiny, blonde and most of all, female
. The next tabby, beside me and my mother was a three hour’s car drive away. Her name was Abby and she was my cousin. This was definitely not Abby.
This was….I took a whiff of her and sputtered, “You….You’re a stray!”
There had never
, absolutely never been a female stray. Women, if attacked and scratched up by a werecat didn’t change. They died. Simple as that. And yet, there she was, wearing high heels and leather pants, looking more like a feline than any born cat in the room.
My father looked exasperated at my… polite outburst but the blonde just grinned. “Hi, you’re Faythe, right?”
I nodded but she’d already spun around to look at Daddy. Still grinning hyperactively she snapped off a salute. “Mission accomplished, all limbs still attached. Except for,” She held up her left pinkie finger, wiggling it in front of her face, “My fingernail. But the doctors say I’ll survive.”
Before I could ask what the hell was going on, Jace came barging in, stopping dead when he noticed blondie standing in the middle of the room. “Sorry boss, “he said, scratching his head sheepishly, “I told her you were busy.”
Daddy waved Jace off, an amused look on his face as he tuned back to me, “Faythe, I’d like you to meet Buffy. She’s been staying with us for almost six months now.”
“But,” I spluttered, still not over the whole stray tabby thing, “How is that possible?”
Buffy, and hello, who names their kid Buffy, shrugged and leaned back against Jace in a way that was certainly not platonic. “I’m a slayer. You’re uncle figured that’s why I didn’t die a horrible and painful death after being attacked.”
“My uncle?” I only had one uncle, well, one uncle who didn’t live under my father’s rule and thus could keep something like a female stray a secret, and his name was Nelson. Had been. Nelson had died almost three years ago. He’d been a wildcat, a born, wandering cat without a pride. If she had known him that meant that she’d been a cat for at least a couple of years.
She nodded again and then suddenly grinned. “Hey, I’m not the only girl in the house anymore. You’ll help me fight back when the guys get all chauvinist, won’t you? Together we might even stand a chance at getting them to sit down when using the toilet.”
I smiled back at her. I couldn’t help it. Not only was she funny, but she’d also managed to make most of the boys in the room blush and
she had thrown Marc a rather nasty look while saying ‘chauvinist’. After spending most of the day trapped in a car with him, I was all for throwing Marc nasty looks. Actually, I couldn’t quite come up with a time where I wasn’t for throwing Marc nasty looks. He was just too cocksure of himself. And if a tiny blonde slip of a girl could take him down a few pegs, I wouldn’t stand in line to lodge a complaint.
I was still smiling at her when her eyes flickered on my face. Then they went to Marc, back to me and finally to my father. In less than a second she had the whole situation checked out and analyzed. And if she’d been here for any length of time, she knew that there was going to be a fight in the near future. I didn’t feel guilty for that. I had just been abducted by my ex-boyfriend on orders of my paranoid father because a friend had finally grown the balls to run away from home. I had every right to be pissed off.
She stepped away from Jace with the smooth grace of our kind and grabbed my hand, pulling me to my feet. I tried to evade her grip on instinct alone but couldn’t. She was fast!
Before I knew it she had managed to drag me all the way to the door where Marc still stood, tall dark and eh… brooding. Buffy made a shooing motion for him to move aside and I stopped fighting her one handed grip. If she was going to get me out of here who was I to complain?
But Marc didn’t move. He looked over Buffy’s head at my father. Buffy saw the look and huffed. “What do you think I’ll do, Curly? Drive the get away car for her? Get away from the damn door.”
I blinked in surprise. While she never even raised her voice or showed any emotion on her face, it was clear that she didn’t like Marc much. Or at least didn’t get along with him too well. Unfortunately for her, Marc never backed down from anything. I knew. I had tried. Yelling, kicking, screaming, biting. Nothing worked with him. He was just that stubborn. Except… he moved. His gaze shot down to meet hers and for a moment I thought they would start a tussle right here in my father’s study. Buffy raised an eyebrow at him, her look not expectant but patient. Like she knew she’d won already. Marc sighed, rolled his eyes and moved. Just like that. He actually moved aside to allow us to leave the room.
I followed her out into the hall, too dumbstruck to do much but blink. How the hell had she done that? She had only been here for six months and Marc listened to her more than he did to me who had known him for more than half his life. Was it because unlike me, she hadn’t yelled? Or was there something special about her? The thought caused something to clench in my chest until I told it to stop. Buffy had been leaning against Jace too suggestively to be platonic. Besides, what Marc did or didn’t do wasn’t my business. It hadn’t been in a long time.
Buffy turned to me suddenly asking, “If I let you go, will you run?”
I balked at her serious expression. Where had the funny girl from inside the office gone? “Are you going to stop me?”
She shrugged, “Seeing as your father feeds, clothes and pays me to enforce his rule, I’d have to. But seriously, don’t run. At least not now. There’s a lot of nasty stuff going on and if you run, you’ll only cause more trouble.”
I jerked my arm from her grip. So much for a kindred soul in my prison. “I’m not trying to cause trouble. I just want to live my damn life!”
She raised both hands in defeat. “I’m not saying don’t live you life. God knows I don’t agree with every sexist rule the guys try to enforce on me. And the next time they think I can’t take three lousy vamps without backup there will be an ass kicking. But what I’m saying is that there’s a time and a place for everything and this isn’t it.”
She lowered her hands and the lecturing tone dropped from her voice. “Just… I’m not your enemy okay? I’ve been the only girl here for ages and I’ve looked forward to meeting you. You sound like a fun person from what the boys told me. I’d like us to be friends. Can we try that before you file me under enemy?”
She was honest. Honest about her intentions and plans with me. Which was a damn sight more than I could say about the rest of the people in the house. So I nodded and after a moment’s hesitation, stuck out my right hand. “Hi,” I said, putting a smile on my face, “I’m Faythe. Pleased to meet you.”
“Buffy, nice meeting you.”
Half an hour later I was sitting on my bed, my brother Ethan lying next to me like he didn’t have a worry in the world. Owen, another one of my four brothers, was leaning against the wall next to my door and Jace was sitting on my desk chair.
I had gotten heartfelt greetings from all three of them and now we were just catching up, falling back into old patterns with an amazing speed. It was as if I’d never been gone, as if the past five years had never happened and we were having one of our usual evening get-togethers. The only one missing was Marc. But I couldn’t really bring myself to mourn that fact.
“So,” I finally asked the question that had been burning my tongue all evening, “What do you guys know about Buffy?”
Ethan shrugged, flopping backwards on my bed to look at me upside down. “She’s been living here for six months. Got infected when she was seventeen and killed the stray who infected her. She’s been hiding in forbidden territory until she came here. That’s the basics. If you want to know anything more, ask her. Or, Jace over there.”
He lifted his head enough to throw Jace what passed for a leery grin. Barely. Ethan just wasn’t leery material. The best he could do was mischievous. It made him a great partner in crime when planning pranks on the other pride members, though. Instead of grinning back like he usually did, Jace frowned and growled low in his throat.
Owen sighed by the door. “Did you two have another fight?”
He sounded like it happened regularly but I hadn’t heard any fighting going on in the house. Jace’s expression, however, said that yes, they had indeed fought. He growled at Owen and then at me too, for good measure. “Leave it alone.”
Owen backed off with both hands raised and his easy smile to reassure us all while Ethan let his head fall back on the bed with a tired sigh of exasperation. There was a story behind those fights and everyone but me seemed to know it. I pouted. It wasn’t fair.
Deciding to change the subject, I demanded, “She said she was an Enforcer, is it true?”
Ethan nodded and shrugged one shoulder. “Dad didn’t like the idea but she kept bugging him about it until he agreed.”
him to let her be an Enforcer?” How the hell had she managed to do that? My father never just let anyone convince
This time it was Owen who nodded. “Yeah,” he drawled, an amused look on his face, “She kept asking him, ‘Can I be an Enforcer?’ For a whole month, every time they crossed paths, that was the first thing out of her mouth. Eventually Dad gave in and let her make her case instead of just saying no. She took him out to the barn and had Marc, Jace and Parker flat on their asses in under a minute. She wasn’t smug about it or anything, just gave Dad that flat look that said that he was a moron if he didn’t let her fight. The next day, she was on the payroll.”
I gaped at my older brother. She had beaten three of my father’s best Enforcers? In under a minute? I could see Daddy’s point in letting her work for him but, damn. She didn’t look like she was anything to be afraid off. I was definitely
sticking close to her. Maybe I could learn a trick or two about how to get my father to let me do my own thing. But for now, there really wasn’t anything I could do. Especially since Jace’s expression turned stormier with every mention of the small blonde’s name.
“Did you say something about a hunt earlier?”
I grinned at the boys enthusiastic replies. I wasn’t in a hurry to figure Buffy out because from what I could see, I was going to be here for a while. At least this way, I’d have something to do.
Ethan rolled to his feet in a move too fast to be human and started unbuttoning his jeans as he launched himself at the door. Owen, seeing him coming, intercepted him sideways, sending the shorter of the two spinning onto the wall. Hooting, Own pulled off his shirt and flung it at Jace just before he hit the hall and disappeared from sight.
Seconds later, I could hear my mother yell at them to not race in her kitchen and then the backdoor slammed.
I laughed. Kidnapping aside, it was kind of good to be home.
Feed the starving artist?