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the vulnerability of faith

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Vulnerability of Faith". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: She was chosen for a reason. To protect and save the world from evil. She shunned her calling & welcomed the darkness. Who knew she was the one that could save the world from the evil that actually could end it; evil that had a face of a friend.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Faith-Centered(Moderator)DemonaFR183381,0290421,8532 Aug 032 Aug 03Yes

Part Fourteen: The Beginning Of The End...Apocalypse Commencing

For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.

Part Fourteen: The Beginning Of The End...Apocalypse Commencing

Summer 2005 L.A…

Then *the* battle came. Cordelia had been getting practically nonstop visions for about a week. We were always busy – always trying to save someone. It was a Wednesday evening at 5:09 p.m. Methos, Richie, Amanda, MacLeod, Joe, Oz, Lindsay, Gunn, Kate, Angel, Cordelia, and I were all sitting around the hotel lobby/research center eating Chinese take out when the vision came. The vision looked to be a painful one, causing her to drop her carton of food into her lap and clutch her head as if to keep it on her shoulders in one piece. Gunn sat silently beside her knowing from previous experience that attempting to help or comfort her during these visions was sometimes painful to the caregiver. She tended to lash out when the pain was too much so we would catch her before she fell but then set her down and wait for her to finish getting her vision before we went to comfort her. We waited for her to speak, but she only cried silently. Finally she looked up at me, then Angel, then back at her Chinese food that now covered her jeans, leaving stains immediately.

"We are too late," she quietly said to us. We were all very confused right then. Food had been set aside and everyone was tensed ready to go out on another mission especially since the magnitude of the vision that had been sent to her.

"Spill Cordy," I told her from my seat on Angel's lap. He had visibly tensed underneath of me when she made eye contact with him.

"Buffy will die in about fifteen minutes. We can't save her. No one is available at the shop to get the call. They are all out fighting right now. I'm so sorry Angel, Faith," Cordy told us softly. So softly that it took Angel's vampiric hearing and my enhanced Slayer hearing to understand half the words she spoke. Angel threw me off him as he quickly jumped to his feet.

"NO!" He roared at Cordy. I sat there completely in shock. Angel grabbed Cordy off the ground and pinned her up against the wall with one hand around her throat. "Tell the Powers That Be that it isn't going to happen! Tell them now! She can't die; I won't allow it. Tell them to do anything to save her. Tell them to trade me for her. I will die in her place!" He screamed in her face.

"Angel!" I yelled at him as I rushed over to where they were. I pushed him angrily and harshly away from Cordy. She crumpled to the ground gasping for air. I fell to the floor with her, making sure she could still breathe. Gunn stood protectively over the two of us at that point, about ready to pummel Angel for touching Cordy. She met my eyes; tears fell down both of our cheeks. My tears were for my sister that was going to die, while hers for having to see the death and deliver the message to the two sitting before her, who both loved Buffy dearly.

"B's gonna die?" I quietly asked her finally after I could get words out.

"Yeah Faith – she is gonna die - a really shitty death. I'm so fucking sorry Faith," Cordy sobbed to me. We held on tightly to each other, tears streaming freely down both of our faces.

A huge crash brought my attention back to reality. Angel had thrown the telephone through the glass door to the courtyard garden. He picked up the closest stack of books and threw them over the counter into the other stacks on the desk. They all went crashing to the floor. I stood and walked up behind him.

"Angel." I gently said as I placed my hands on his shoulders in an attempt to pacify him. My touch usually cooled the demon that raged in him. This time it did no such effect; it actually seemed to cause him further rage.

"Stay the hell away from me! You can't change anything," he spat as he spun around to avoid my touch and in the process backhanded me across the left side of my face. I was completely unprepared for the blow. It put me on my ass and skidding across the floor. When I came to a stop a few feet later I looked up at Angel in complete shock and confusion as my hand went up to cradle my now broken jaw. His own jaw dropped and his eyes widened in horror as he realized what he had just done. He dropped to his knees. When he reached out to touch me I quickly scrambled backwards away from him. "Faith…"

"No! Stay the fuck away from me!" I yelled at him.

"Faith. I'm sorry! I just whipped around. I really…" he started to apologize as he followed my backwards movements but I cut him off.

"Shut up!" I screamed at him. I managed to push myself up onto trembling legs. He stayed on his knees beneath me while still reaching out to touch me. I stumbled backwards again, this time into Gunn. He immediately pulled me into his arms and held me tightly as I first attempted to get away and then as I finally collapsed from realization of the whole situation. Angel stood and I visibly tensed.

"How about you stay right there big guy. I don't think you need to come at her again," Gunn suggested to him in a tone that made Angel think twice about advancing on Gunn and me.

"I have to go. I can still save her. I can get there to save her," I rambled and pushed myself away from Gunn's embrace.

"Faith, I don't think that you are going to save her," Cordelia gently attempted to persuade me into accepting the fact.

"You have no chance of making it to save her in the next five minutes. She is going to die and we are going to have to go to Sunnydale to pick up the pieces of the fight tonight."

"No Cordy, I can save her. I owe it to her to do anything to save her. I have to try!" I cried to her and headed for the door when Amanda grabbed me.

"I don't think that you are going to be able to get to Sunnydale in five minutes. No one here could even do that. I just think that you need to calm down," Amanda tried to reason with me and I punched her in the face causing Kate to get to her feet and "protect" her lover.

"You don't understand Amanda! I have to try, I owe her that," I said to her as tears continued to cascade down my face. Kate stood a few feet away from us eyeing me warily ready to jump in to break up the fight in a second's notice.

"I do understand completely Faith. But she is probably dead at this point." She tried to reason with me.

"NO! I have to save her. I can't let her die," I sobbed and clung to her slim frame. She held me tightly as sobs racked my body. My body was basically Jell-O in her strong arms.

"She can't die. I have to save her," I kept muttering against Amanda's body.

Cordy suddenly clutched her head and Gunn caught her before she hit the floor. "She is dead and the end of the world is coming," Cordy's soft voice echoed through the silent lobby. I couldn't believe it and cried even harder. Angel broke a few more things until Methos grabbed him and restrained him from taking out anything more.

"Perhaps we should go to the hospital before we go to Sunnydale. I think you need to go to the emergency room and have that jaw of yours looked at. It needs to be set and fixed so you can hopefully heal before you run into another fist," Methos finally suggested after he got Angel calmed down and sitting on the couch with Cordy. I then realized my jaw was really broken.

"Ok," I answered. Methos had Cordelia and Gunn go with me to the hospital. Angel wanted and tried to come too.

"No!" I yelled at him when he reached out to help me through the door. "I don't need anything else from you," I informed him. Guilt, sadness, and pain crossed his face visibly. I could see the fight fall out of him. I was too upset about B and my jaw to deal with him right then.

**********

Methos sent Angel, Oz, Lindsay, Amanda, Kate, Mac, Richie, and Joe to Sunnydale. They hid Angel in the back of Oz's van. Everyone piled into Oz's van except Mac and Joe, who rode in Mac's car. Cordelia, Gunn, and Methos waited for me to undergo surgery to set my jaw. They set it and released me telling me not to do anything dangerous over the next few weeks. I lied and agreed, took the drugs, and left the hospital. Methos drove the Land Rover to Sunnydale. Cordelia and Gunn sat in the back, while I passed out in the front seat from the drugs and pain. Halfway there I was moved into the back seat to lean against Methos. Gunn drove with Cordy shotgun and Methos held me at a forty-five degree angle while applying ice to my jaw to make sure the swelling stayed down. I woke up about five minutes before we go to Giles & Cassandra's house. My jaw hurt badly but it wasn't too swollen, thanks to Methos. I was confused to find myself in the back of the truck rather than the front. We pulled up at the house and I got out more painkillers. I quickly took them and got out of the truck. Methos looked at me as I faltered and stumbled to the side, unsteady on my own feet. He started towards me, but I held up my hand.

"I'm fine Adam. Let me walk on my own two feet," I managed to get out and he stopped his movement towards me. We all walked into Giles' house not even bothering to stop to knock.

"Faith," Giles softly said and pulled me into a tight embrace. I felt tears that had rolled down his face hit my face and mix with my own. His face was badly bruised and I guessed the rest of his body as well. I assumed the bruises came from the fight that Cordy had received the first vision about.

"Where is she Giles?" I manage to choke out.

"In the living room," Giles said and I let go of him and moved to his living room.

He was right – she was there – dead and lying on the floor. Her throat slit from ear to ear, her face beaten to a bloody pulp, her body broken and bloody as well. I spun around and rushed out of the room only to throw up in the kitchen sink; I didn't make it to the bathroom. After a few minutes I was better. After I collected myself I walked back to her body with a bowl of warm water and an old rag to clean off her body.

"No Faith, let the coroner do this," Giles started and Cordelia cut him off.

"Leave her Giles. Buffy wouldn't have wanted to be seen like this by anyone. Let Faith clean Buffy and heal herself," Cordelia stated placing a restraining hand on Giles's arm.
I heard voices but not words as I sat down next to her body. I slowly washed off her face and rinsed the rag, turning the water in the bowl a dark red almost instantly. An hour and a half and at least a dozen bowls of warm water later she was clean. I washed her entire body with the rag – making her look as clean, virginal, and pure as possible. Oz took Willow to get a white summer dress for her to wear in her coffin. I washed the blood out of her hair as well, returning it to its blonde color. Willow was still in shock and denial from the events of tonight. She had lost Buffy and then Tara tonight, her best friend and her lover respectively. Both died on the same night. I can only imagine how horrible it was for her. It hit her about five a.m. that they were both dead. Her cries wouldn't let any of us sleep. I finally passed out again from the pain medicine. Methos and Amanda took turns holding me up at a forty-five degree angle with ice on my jaw throughout the night.

**********

When the sun rose in the morning, Giles decided it would be a good thing for Buffy to be taken to the coroner's so that they could report the dead body to the police and not have to deal with the repercussions of hiding a dead body for any longer than they already had. There would be a lot of questions already because of her death and because of Tara's. Their bodies were badly mutilated and it was evident that they didn't die from natural or near natural causes. Giles along with Methos and Cassandra took her body as well as Tara's to the morgue for the coroner to deal with. He took care of everything, as a father would do. Later that day, Willow and Xander decided that they would go to pay their last respects to their deceased friends and to their fallen allies. It was really hard for them because B was their best friend. They were the three original members of the Scooby Gang, the three Musketeers as Xander often called them.
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