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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)DemonaFR183381,0290421,7832 Aug 032 Aug 03Yes

Part Fifteen: Things That Die Don't Always Stay Dead

For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.

Part Fifteen: Things That Die Don't Always Stay Dead

I awoke from a pain medicine-induced nap to the sounds of screaming and people rushing around. It took me a few seconds to process everything in my head. I finally recognized that it was Willow who was screaming and upset. I looked up over the couch to see Willow and what all the commotion was about. Her face was all bruised and slightly bloody. That was all it took for me to leap over the couch and get completely focused on every word that she was saying.

"She killed him, she drained him right there in front of me and then slit her wrist and made him drink. Oh God, I couldn't save him. She must have been awake the whole time since we left the house. Does this mean she has an invitation in? We need to revoke the whole invitations and then re-invite Angel in," Willow managed to get out in one breath. I walked up to her and gently touched her face and she cringed.

"What did she do to you Willow?" I quietly asked her.

"She just punched me and threw me up against a wall. When I woke up she was gone and so was Xander's body. I came back here as soon as possible. I still don't know why she didn't kill me. Perhaps she just was overcome by the bloodlust."

"Perhaps," I answered and turned to look for Angel to answer some questions for me.

"I think that we should go to the store and get the magic supplies and try to restore her soul. That way in case she really didn't want to kill Xander and it was just bloodlust then we can save her. I mean, after all it is Buffy," Willow suggested and I nodded in agreement to that one. I made eye contact with Giles and he nodded as well.

"I'll go," Anya said, she was shaking and tears were flowing down her face. "If Xander is undead then perhaps we can still save him too. I mean, it’s Xander, if she turned him into a vampire then perhaps we can give them both souls and have them come back to us," she reasoned with us, her eyes pleading with everyone to agree with her.

"That is a good idea Anya. Why don't you take someone with you and get the supplies from the shop? Willow and I will work on the spell to ban vampires from access to the house and then re-invite Angel in while you are gone," Giles suggested to her.

"Anyone want to go with me?" Anya asked in a tiny voice. Amanda, who was a longtime friend of Anya's, stood up.

"I'll go," she said and then squeezed Anya's hand gently and held onto it. Joe stood as well.

"A tour of the shop wouldn't be that bad. Besides I could use a walk in today's beautiful weather," Joe said and they nodded in acceptance.

The three of them headed off from Giles' house to the shop to retrieve the things needed to do the restoration spells. We performed the spell to revoke invitations at Giles' house and then Giles re-invited Angel into his home. It only took a few minutes for them to do the spell and the re-inviting in of Angel. About two hours later Joe, Amanda, and Anya still hadn't returned from the shop and we were starting to get worried.

"Do you think that one of us should go after them?" Willow asked, obviously really worried about them. Everyone in Giles' house was really edgy right now and almost all of the few remaining Scooby Gang was borderline crazy.

"I think that we should give them a little while longer. Anya knows what is needed from the store. Joe can't walk that fast and Amanda, well knowing her she probably tried to steal a few things from the store and Anya yelled at her about not paying. I am sure that they will be back within the hour," Cassandra gently suggested in a soft yet reassuring voice from her seat in the lazy-boy in the corner of the living room. The rest of the people agreed with her but that didn't stop Willow from pacing around the room chewing on her nails or Giles from repeatedly cleaning his glasses. In that time I felt like something or someone was missing and looked around at who was in my presence.

"Are we missing anyone?" I asked Giles and he looked around the room.

"You know that some left for the Magic Box right?" Giles asked me gently.

"Other than them…and Xander, Tara and Buffy…we are missing someone in this group," I told them and looked around confused. My eyes locked with Angel's for one brief second and it hit me then.

"I don't think…" Giles started and I cut him off standing up suddenly, almost losing my balance in the process.

"SPIKE!" I yelled at everyone. "We are missing Spike. Oh God…he could be out there injured or dead…we have to find out what happened to him before he finds out that Buffy is dead or else we might be too late," I told them and headed over to my shoes and jacket. I sat down to pull them on and Giles stood in front of me then.

"We aren't going to look for him Faith. He probably had something to do with this whole thing. If he comes back to us then we will decide what to do with him."

"What are you talking about? This is Spike, the guy that loved Buffy and helped her for the past few years without trying to kill anyone. The guy that has no fucking chip but has not killed you yet!" I yelled at him and everyone in the house looked at me in interest at the sudden panic over Spike. Cordelia rose to her feet and convinced Giles to leave us alone momentarily. She held me as I cried silently into her shoulder and then she turned to Giles.

"Giles, you have a training room in this house somewhere don't you?" She asked him as I stood and stretched my arms out above my head.

"Yeah I do Cordelia. Um…in the basement is the training room that Buffy and I use…" he trailed off and then paused for a moment to reflect. He exhaled slowly and then continued in an almost transparent voice. "It is the door right across from the bathroom down the hall. Everything you need is down there…" he trailed off again as he realized finally that he would probably never train with Buffy anymore.

"Thanks Giles," she said to him as she reached out to lay a hand on his shoulder. He forced a smile to her. She pushed me towards the training room so I could work out my aggression and aggravation on my own.

**********

I walked down the stairs to the basement silently and then got to the bottom and looked around at what there was down there that I could beat the shit out of. I attacked the wooden dummy that was sitting in the corner. After a few angry punches and kicks it was nothing but broken wood. I moved to the swinging punching bag but knocked that off the hook after one roundhouse, sending it into the wall next to it. I looked into the mirror and caught tears running down my face that I didn't were there. I angrily wiped the tears away from my eyes, smearing the mascara and eyeliner further around my eyes and down my face.

"If you wanted a punching bag all you needed to do was ask," Angel's voice came from behind me. I whirled around shocked because I didn't sense him come down the stairs and with the whole wall covered by a mirror I couldn't see him at all.

"You aren't welcome down here," I told him angrily, my body posture going from upset and pliable to angry and rigid.

"Faith, we need to talk."

"No, we don't. I don't need anything else from you Angel. I have had enough to last a lifetime," I told him and turned back away from him and headed over to the weight set.

"Faith. I am sorry."

"So?" I asked him.

"I am trying to apologize for breaking your jaw and for hurting you."

"How about breaking my heart Angel? Are you here to apologize for that too?" I asked him angrily.

"Your heart? What? How did I break your heart?" He asked, confusion evident in his voice.

"You don't know…then when you figure it out perhaps you'll be able to come up with a suitable apology. I don't think that I'll accept it, but you can always try. I've never seen a vampire apologize before," I spat at him and then looked up and made eye contact with him. I saw tears well up in his eyes. A single tear rolled down his face and left a wet trail down his right cheek.

"I don't know what I said or did to break your heart Faith. I really don't. Usually I am the one that goes and beats the hell out of whatever hurts you, but this time I can't do that because this time it was me that hurt you. I don't know what I did Faith. I have no clue at all. You have to help me on this one. Help me. Let me know what I did wrong, let me fix it, let me back in please," he pleaded with me.

"Never seen a vampire beg either. My day is getting better already," I said and then I heard the basement door being pulled open.

"Get up here you two! We have an emergency!" I heard Methos yell down the stairs. Our conversation was cut off as we both flew up the stairs. As we came around the corner to the living room ready to destroy whatever had created the emergency and gave heed to the urgency we heard in Methos' voice.

"What happened?" Angel asked immediately. My eyes focused on a blood soaked Amanda.

"Anya and Joe are dead. Buffy and a few humans and vampires she rounded up that fast were at the shop waiting for us. They captured us, tortured us, and eventually killed us. They raided the shop, took everything needed for the soul restoration spells, smashed the Orbs and everything else, and then left a nice little note in our blood on the wall for you Giles," Amanda said to us, and then directed the last part of the sentence primarily to Giles.

"What did it say?" He asked in a shaky voice as he pulled his glasses off his face and started to clean them with shaking hands.

"Tick-tock tick-tock. All your little soldiers are falling one by one. Who’s next old man? You decide who you send out for the firing squad when you need an Orb of Thesulah or a cup of sugar. Tick-tock tick-tock. Down go two witches, a demon and her boy, the sugar daddy and his whore and the traitor. Which Scooby will be the next to fall? Decide Ripper before the end comes and you have no choices left!" Amanda replied to that comment. "Obviously she thinks that I am Joe's whore and that I am actually dead. I got Xander, and the demon would be Anya, Tara was one witch but who is the other one? And who is the traitor?" Amanda speculated and I just looked on in horror and confusion. Joe and Anya were dead, Amanda would be dead too if she was human, or worse yet if Buffy knew she was immortal then she would be a head shorter. I felt my knees give out. I stumbled and reached out towards the wall to catch my balance. They looked at me. The combination of all this pain medicine I had been taking and this new news was too much for me. I slid down the wall pulling my knees up to my chin and wrapped my arms around my legs.

"She isn't Buffy anymore. She killed them all and she doesn't care," I managed to get out completely shocked.

"That is what happens when a person becomes a vampire. The demon takes over the human's body and the demon is in charge, the person no longer exists," Giles said in an attempt to make me understand and accept.

"So what about if we gave her soul back?" Willow asked us. "I mean Angel is different than Angelus," she added quietly.

"No. She isn't Buffy anymore. She can't handle this. She killed Xander, Anya, Joe, Amanda, and tried to kill you Willow. She has probably killed countless others and she won't be able to handle that guilt. I think that there is only one choice. We slay," I told them.

"So this is how it ends? You finally get your way don't you? You hated my sister ever since you met her and now you are going to get your chance to kill her, aren't you? I won't let you do it. I won't let you kill her. She is all that I have left and you aren't going to get off on killing her," Dawn yelled at me and grabbed a knife off the table, which was covered in weapons. I rose on shaking legs to face her.

"B and I might not have gotten along in the beginning Dawn. But we were cool up until her death. She is my sister, my slaying sister. She's my blood. We each have the same blood, Slayer blood. I don't want to kill her, but if we give her back her soul then she will commit suicide the minute she gets away from us. The guilt is too much. I mean, look at Angel. He was like running around in the sewers in New York because he felt so bad. And he isn't B. He wasn't meant to slay from the beginning. He was just a normal person forced into vampirism. She is a Slayer, it would kill her to have killed people and have to live with it. That is the difference between Buffy and the world. She cares, no one else does," I told Dawn.

"You aren't going to kill my sister," Dawn screamed at me and raised the knife.

"You don't have to worry about that. Something else already did that. I am just going to put her out of her misery and end her suffering. Do you really think that Buffy, the sister that you are talking about, would want to be a vampire? Do you?" I yelled back at her and took several steps toward her. "Go ahead Dawn. Kill me!" I dared her. I opened my arms to her and stood there. "Your sister did it, let’s see if you can," I snapped at her.

"She didn't kill you though," Dawn argued.

"She gutted me. Wanted to feed me to Angel to save his life. I didn't let her feed me to Angel, didn't really let her gut me but she did. She had it in her, do you?" I asked her.

"Perhaps Faith, this is not the time to see who has the biggest b…er...stones between you and Dawn. We have more important things to do," Giles tried.

"No Giles. Everyone has to be on the same boat. She doesn't want me to kill the vampire that took over Buffy's body. We need to settle this. In fact, anyone who votes not to kill Buffy can grab a knife and stand in line. I'm not backing down on this one," I told them all. Dawn's hand with the knife trembled.

"She is all that I have left in this world. She's all I have left," Dawn cried to me. The knife fell out of her hand and clattered on the floor. I took a step towards her and lowered my arms slowly. She rushed me and threw her arms around me, hugging me tightly, squeezing all the air of out of me. I dealt with it though until I really needed to breathe again and then I gently pried her off me.

"Ok," I said to everyone in the room. "Tonight a small team, only those prepared to die and good enough hopefully not to, is going out. We are going on a recon mission. We find vamps, beat the hell out of them until they tell us something we want to hear, and then we kill them. It's a simple mission. Hopefully we won't run into Buffy. If we do then we slay," I told everyone.

"Since when did you become commando girl?" Mac asked me and I just shrugged.

"Since I needed to be. Does anyone have a better plan or is that what we are going to stick with?" I asked them. No one objected to the plan that I proposed to the group. "Good. Do we have any volunteers for the mission tonight? I am volunteering, anyone else? Remember the requirements," I told them all. Everyone was quiet for a few moments.

"I will go," Gunn said and Cordy looked pale. "Cordy, I gotta go. I gotta do this cause if I don't then she could come and get you when I can't protect you. You understand right?" Gunn said to her and took her hands in his.

"You had better come back to me," Cordy finally said to him in response.

"That I shall," he promised and kissed her quickly. They mumbled their "I love yous" to each other and then parted and he stood beside me.

"I'll come. You could use some magic on your side," Cassandra said to me and I nodded to her. She said her peace to Giles and stood beside me.

"Anyone else?"

"I'm in," Methos said and stood up. Mac went to stand as well but Methos shoved him back down on the couch. "You need to go and get Joe's body with another group. Quick retrieval and drop it off at the coroner. I will be fine Mac," Methos said and quickly kissed Mac's lips and then moved behind me and sat on the table.

"All right, I guess this is it. Methos brought up another issues. We should go and get Joe and Anya's bodies. That will require a few people; Oz…you are team leader. Your van will be needed. This mission is quick and simple. Retrieve the bodies and take them to the coroner. Everyone is to be on guard the whole time. Everyone is also to be armed to the teeth ok? Stakes are a must!" I told them all and they nodded to me. "I am not going to pick that team. Mac and Oz can do that. Just remember that the people that go out need to be able to handle the dead, probably mutilated bodies, and the people that stay here need to be able to protect themselves. Someone is going to have to be in charge of watching Dawn. She needs to be guarded at all times. No objections Dawn, this is because I love you," I told everyone. Dawn looked like she was going to object but she didn't. Everyone else agreed to my plan. Sunset was taking place as we spoke. "Ok, my team, weapons, weapons, and more weapons. Pack on what you can carry and move with. You know what I mean and you know what you are capable of. I want you to be able to defend yourself but at the same time turn tail and run if you need to. Understood?" I asked them. They all nodded to me.
"Good, you have fifteen minutes to get your shit together," I told them and walked away.
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