Part Twenty-Six: How Does One Prepare Themselves For A Horribly, Gruesome Death?
For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.
Part Twenty-Six: How Does One Prepare Themselves For A Horribly, Gruesome Death?
The day of the fight everyone prepared in their own way. We had planned our strategy out and each of us had it memorized. Weapons were made, stocked, and divided among us. We divided up into teams as well with different missions for that night.
"All right. I guess this is the part where I ask everyone if they are absolutely sure that they want to go into this battle tonight. If you don't then you don't have to go. No one will think any less of you," I told everyone there and no one said anything. "All right then I also want to make sure that everyone stays away from Buffy. She's mine. If you run into her yell - yell loudly. Everyone clear on that" I asked while looking directly at Angel. Everyone nodded and mumbled yes. "Good. Teams are important to making sure this night goes off correctly. I have divided everyone up into teams based upon ability and relationships. Team leaders will be given mission objectives and instructions on how to carry out those objectives. It is the role of the leader to make sure that that mission is accomplished at any and all costs. If you are not happy with your group tough shit," I said and pulled out a piece of paper. "Methos, team leader. Mac, Kate, and Amanda are yours. Your objective is hand-to-hand combat. Find the largest cluster of demons and attack them. Kill whatever you can, take out as many as possible. This is a dangerous mission. Kate, if you don't feel comfortable with this then let me know and I'll reposition you."
"I'm good," she told me and I nodded.
"Next leader is Gunn. You have Cordy, Oz, and Lindsay. Your mission is to take down and destroy any ceremony looking stuff. Fire has been known to work effectively. You can look for the path of least resistance or follow the path Methos' crew clears. Whatever you decide Gunn."
"Ok," Gunn answered and squeezed Cordy's hand tightly.
"Last team is Giles as leader with Cassandra and Willow as members. Your mission is magic. Make sure you assist the other teams with magic and break down any spells B might have cast to open the Hellmouth. OK?" I asked them.
"Ok," all three of them answered with confidence.
"You three are to stay mostly away from the battle. I want you alive and capable throughout the fight. You are the backup staff. The *last* line only," I emphasized the last sentence heavily.
"Ok," Giles told me.
"What about me?" Richie asked.
"You know what you are doing. Should we all fail and not return an hour after sunrise then you are to take Dawn far, far away from here. I expect you to protect her with your life and take good care of her," I told him and he actually took it ok.
"Good," he said and I nodded in agreement.
"And Peaches and myself?" Spike's voice came out finally.
"We are to stop B. That is our mission," I told him and Angel nodded. "Spike, you can join a team if you want or you can go solo. Whatever you choose is ok. B is mine though. Angel and Spike are the backup plan should I fail," I got out to everyone, laying my fear out in the open for everyone to recognize and accept.
"Faith, don't you think you should rethink this. Perhaps Angel is the best one for the job," Giles suggested.
"No Giles. She is the Slayer. This is her job Giles. She is the Slayer and she needs to slay a vampire tonight," Spike's voice clearly stated loudly throughout the room. Everyone turned to look at me. I nodded in understanding. Angel was clearly pissed that Spike was backing me on this one.
"I don't want to send an innocent girl to her death!" Giles yelled back at him. "I have already lost my daughter. Others that I consider to be my own children too have been taken from me as well. I don't want to lose Faith too!"
"This is her fight Giles. You know that as well as everyone else in this room. You can't prevent her from fighting Buffy. You can't protect her either. She isn't a child; she isn't a frail little girl that can't protect herself. She is the *Slayer*, which everyone seems to have forgotten during the last week or so. This is her job, her destiny. She knows the repercussions of fighting Buffy and she is ready for them Giles. I know that you look at her as one of your own children and I know that you don't want to lose another but you should be more worried about that beautiful little girl standing in the corner over there instead of Faith. I love Faith and I don't want to see her die anymore than anyone else here, but she is the best option that we have right now. If we send in Angel or myself and we lose then B will have the momentum and probably will be able to take out whomever we throw at her next. Faith has no other place in this fight other than to fight Buffy," Spike harshly explained to everyone in the room. His voice was raw with emotion and his accent thick. "I don't want to see anyone else die tonight Rupert, but unless Faith faces Buffy a lot more will die," Spike softly admitted the last sentence.
"I still think that perhaps Angel would be the best option."
"No. I'm taking her first. If I fail then Spike and Angel can fight for dibs at her next," I told everyone and stared down Giles.
"Ok," Giles finally relented.
"Good. Now everyone knows the teams and assignments so I suggest that you all go about your own personal business. Make sure you are ready to die and leave your significant other perhaps for good. We leave the house at dusk," I told everyone and walked out of the living room where we were all meeting. Angel followed me down to the basement where I was stocking up on equipment for the fight.
"Do you really feel that Richie should guard Dawn? He could be utilized in the field," Angel asked as he sat down on the weight bench.
"Yes. If something should happen to any of us Dawn needs to be guarded. Richie plays it off like he is babysitting but he likes her and she likes him. They are both Immortal children forever stuck in bodies that will never age. They know each other very well now. No one else is qualified besides Spike for that job," I answered as I continued to place weapons in my equipment vest.
"And sending Kate out with Amanda, Methos and Mac? She's mortal and will probably die Faith. Is this something personal with her?"
"Despite the fact that Kate and I have never managed to get along over the vast amount of time that we have known each other I am not going to rejoice if she was to die. She said she was ok Angel. She's a strong woman and if she is fated to die then by me moving her to another team nothing will not change that."
"So you in theory knowingly sent her to her death?"
"As I knowingly sent everyone else to theirs as well. Everything is a risk Angel. Everyone could die tonight, no one could die tonight, but some of us will probably die tonight. Others – innocent others – have already died Angel. I don't want more to die but they will if B wins and you know that. I won't allow that to happen. If some of our team has to die to save the world then that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. To insure the safety of the world in the future is my number one concern tonight."
"I know Faith; I know," he softly told me and walked over to me. He took the vest out of my hands and set it down on the floor next to me.
"What are you doing? I need to get ready for…" I started to ask him but he cut me off by placing a finger to my lips.
"I'm just making sure I'm ready for battle too. Just making sure my significant other knows how much I love her." Angel pulled my tank top up over my head before I realized his hands were moving. I in turn ran my hands up under his tank top pulling it slowly up his body as my hands slid up his chest. He leaned down and kissed me after the tank top cleared his head and I wove my hands into his hair holding his head to mine. Clothes were taken off with hurried, clumsy hands. Finally when we were both naked he led me over to the weight bench. He stretched out on the bench on his back and helped me straddle him. He held my waist and helped me ride him until we both reached our peaks and then I collapsed on his sweaty chest, both of us breathing heavily.
"I think you did a good job of making sure I was loved. Thank you," I told him.
"We still are talking seriously after tonight," Angel told me.
"Ok," I vaguely answered him, kissing him once more on the lips and then reached for my tank top.
As the day progressed I made sure everyone had all the equipment and arsenal they were going to need to do their mission. Oz and Willow did a low level protection spell over me, Cordelia, Gunn, Kate, Giles, Lindsay, themselves and me to help protect us a little from the injuries we were going to incur. Methos and Mac cooked us a dinner at 3 p.m. and it was a little weird. It was like the final supper and a changing point for everyone to look back upon. We all ate around the table. Angel and Spike drank blood that I had gotten out of me yesterday for them for tonight's dinner and talked amongst themselves. Giles and Cassandra sat side-by-side hands interlaced as they ate. Methos and Mac tended to dinner and everyone until everything was served and then they ate sitting down across from each other at the ends of the table. Richie sat next to Dawn, his arm constantly touching a part of her. Cordy and Gunn were sitting next to me off to my right. Nothing fazed those two. Gunn was chowing down and Cordy was laughing with Willow about something that had happened in high school. I was happy to see Cordy laughing like she was and I was glad to know Willow would laugh despite everything that happened over the past week for her. Oz and Lindsay were whispering quietly to each other at one corner of the table near Methos. I looked over at them and caught them kissing gently between hushed whispers. Kate and Amanda were eating silently. I didn't expect to see emotion out of Kate, perhaps Amanda though, but there was no touching at all between the two of them. Something wasn't right between the two of them and I feared that because of this uneasiness that something bad would happen to one of them. I just watched everyone react to the people that were surrounding them, memorizing the faces and smiles of the people I had grown to love and cherish. I had a really bad feeling about what was going to happen tonight. I knew that everyone wasn't going to come out of this fight alive. Angel caught my eye and broke my thoughts. He just held my gaze for what seemed like forever and finally he just smiled a soft smile at me. I returned it gently and then looked away as Cordy grabbed my arm to pull me into the conversation she was having with Willow. I didn't get another chance to catch Angel's gaze during that meal. After dinner we took turns cleaning the dishes and straightening up the house because Giles said something about not wanting to come home to a mess.
Angel still managed to find a moment to get me totally alone amidst the chaos and confront me about everything in the last few days.
"No matter what has happened in the last few days or the last few months I just want you to know that I love you Faith. I need you to understand that ok? I love you so fucking much it hurts Faith. Just remember that when we head out there, despite whatever you may think about my feelings for you know that I love you with all of my heart, mind and soul," Angel told me and then pulled me into a quick hard kiss on the lips he then pushed himself away from me and held me at an arms length from him. He took in my shocked expression and my lips about to form words and his placed his finger on my lips effectively silencing me. "No words Faith. I just had to let you know how I feel about you because for some reason you have grown to doubt my love. I don't doubt yours. I know how you feel about me. Just remember I love you," he told me again and then walked away from me. I touched my lips gently and then headed out to meet up with the rest of the people to go and head out to find B.