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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)DemonaFR183381,0290421,8942 Aug 032 Aug 03Yes

Part Five: Angel's Overdue Return

For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.

Part Five: Angel's Overdue Return

L.A.
November 23, 2002

I awoke with a start. I couldn't move my body. My eyes slowly adjusted to the dim lighting and I tried to speak but found it difficult. I finally got out a single word.

"Angel?" I asked, my voice foreign and scratchy to my own ears. I called against a little louder. The young black man, Gunn I remembered, came into the room. He came over to the bed and poured me a glass of water. He let me drink a little and then looked down at me. I could see the pity evident in his eyes, but uncertainty lay there as well. He didn't trust me. I had to explain my plan, the reason I betrayed them, and I had to explain it all right then.

"So how do you feel?" He asked me as he sat down in the chair next to my bed, leaning forward to brush a strand of hair from my face.

"Like I got hit with a truck. Tell me…tell me why I can't move my body," I quickly got out as tears started to cloud my vision.

"When you took that dive out of the window combined with all the injuries you sustained before that…well…your back broke Faith. You had several severe injuries all over your body. The doctors aren't very optimistic. But…um…we have a therapist for you; the best that money, from an anonymous source, can buy."

"Angel?"

"He disappeared about…well over a year ago. Cordelia got a vision of you in danger with Darla. She knew it all. The deception was just that, a lie. You helped Angel; you helped save him Faith!" Gunn explained to me.

"I know what I did. A year? I have been in a coma for another fucking year?" I snapped in general not really at Gunn.

"Yeah Faith," Gunn replied softly

"But Angel? Where's Angel?" I asked him and he wouldn't make eye contact with me.

"We aren't even sure that he is still alive Faith. When we got to the apartment that night we saw the damage you all created and there were two piles of dust on the floor. But Cordy didn't get a vision of Angel's death."

"So he is dead? I risked everything including my life to save his and he is dead!?!" I yelled and tried to sit up which my body didn't respond to at all. "He's dead?" I whisper this time; tears rolling continuously down my face. I couldn't believe that Angel was dead.

"We aren't sure if he is dead. We figure that if the PTB's champion was going to die then we would be let in on it. Cordy hasn't gotten a vision about his death yet," Gunn attempted to assure me and failed miserably. He left me alone after he gave me another sip of water and I was left to think and worry about Angel alone.

**********

Over the next eight months I underwent intensive and extensive physical therapy to get me back on my feet. Wes, Gunn, Oz, Lindsay and Kate went on patrols nightly and sometimes daily to help keep the citizens of L.A. safe. Cordelia had the visions and ran what remained of Angel Investigations. She also stayed with me pretty much twenty four seven now that I was awake and moving, taking me to the office with her so that I wasn't alone in the apartment with Phantom Dennis as my only company. I had been residing in her apartment with Phantom Dennis for the year that I had been in the coma. He watched over me while she was at work. After eight months I was able to move freely; I wasn't quite up to par but I was human and moving.

It took a long time to get back to somewhat of a normal friendship with Cordelia. It took even longer for her to fully trust me again. My relationship with Gunn and Wes got back to its normal level a few months after I woke up. However, Cordelia was upset that I couldn't let her know what I was doing even though at the back of her mind she understood why I couldn't let her know.

**********

In September of 2003, ten months after I awoke from my coma, Cordelia got a vision of a man getting a phone call from Angel. Gunn, Cordelia and B flew with me to a small town in Washington State where the mystery man was located. From what Cordy made of the vision he was a professor at the college. Wes, Oz, and Lindsay stayed in L.A. for Angel Investigations and Spike watched over the Hellmouth with the Scooby gang. We rented a car and drove to the college and around until we found a parking spot. We walked, with Cordy leading, to the man's classroom. It was September and decent weather. I was wearing leather pants, a tank top, and a dark denim jacket. Cordy was in a short skirt and matching cute top, B was dressed in jean shorts and a tee shirt and Gunn wore jeans and a tee shirt. We walked as a pack, people staring at us as we crossed the campus, moving out of our way as we neared them. We entered the building where he was and I entered the classroom. Cordy nodded in recognition of him.

"Can I help you?" He asked us. I grabbed him by the throat and pinned him to the chalkboard.

"Yeah, you can. Where is he?" I asked angrily.

"I have no clue…" he started but I slammed him against the board again.

"No games! I know you know who we are talking about," I hissed at him.

"I don't know Faith. Even if I did I wouldn't tell you at all," he answered and gasped for air. I let him go after he said *my* name. "Yes, I know you too. He sent me your name, what you are, how you, like the others, betrayed him. How you, of all people, he felt he knew, knew his darkness and knew his light. You deceived him well Faith."

"How…?"

"He's alive…er rather undead but around nevertheless. Dru didn't manage to kill him. He called 911 and got you help because he couldn't go out into the day after you took that suicide dive with Darla out the window. Then he called me, told me the deal was off." He explained to me.

"What deal?" I asked him. I never saw him move but I felt the blackboard slam roughly into my back as he grabbed a hold of my throat and threw me against it.

"The deal was to kill you Faith. He asked me to kill you because even though you had betrayed him, killed the innocent and created chaos in L.A. for him and his ex-crew he still couldn't kill you. He attacked you, Dru & Darla and was prepared to die that day. But for some reason he couldn't kill you. He didn't mind staking Dru, his childe, or Darla, his sire, but you Faith, you he couldn't kill!" He yelled at me. I stood there in shock.
Then a flashback hit me:
**Angel as he dodges another hit: "I'm not gonna make it easy for you." I throw myself against Angel screaming: "I'm evil! I'm bad! I'm evil! Do you hear me? I'm bad! Angel, I'm bad! (I begin to sob, grabbing a hold of Angel's shirt and shaking him.) I'm ba-ad. Do you hear me? I'm bad! I'm bad! I'm bad. Please. Angel, please, just do it." Wesley comes running out of the house. Me sobbing: "Angel please, just do it. Just do it. Just kill me. Just kill me." Angel wraps his arms around my shoulders and pulls me against him. I over balance us and we sink to our knees, Angel still holding me as I cry. Angel: "Shh. It's all right. It's okay. I'm here. I'm right here. Shh."**
End Flashback.
"It was my mission to come to L.A. that day of the fight and if I didn't get a call from him then I was to kill you. I was on my way to find you – to kill you – when he called and told me that my mission was now to watch over you. He told me at which hospital you were at and to call a number and to explain to them that "Faith needed their help" and everything else he had told me about the fight. I made sure you lived Faith – your bills were paid – etc. So don't come here and threaten me little girl. I gave you life – I can end it too!" He yelled in my face. I lashed out with my right leg while B rushed him. I landed a solid kick causing him to release me while B shoved him away. He fell to the floor and laughed at us, a gut-wrenching full belly laugh. B, Cordy, Gunn, stood ready for battle in front of me while I crouched on the floor gasping for air.
"Calm down children. I will not harm you, any of you." He rose to his feet gracefully and fluidly causing us all to tense. He averted his attention from us back to his class, which was still sitting there.
"Class dismissed. You are all free to leave. I expect you to continue reading. I'll see you on Wednesday." The class all looked reluctant to leave. "I'll be fine, go please," he dismissed the class. They filed out warily and slowly. I rose to my feet once I had my breathing somewhat back to normal. He had cut off my air supply totally, almost killing me.
"Let’s take this to my office. Shall we?" He asked us as he packed his bag.

"That we shall. Lead the way," I spoke steadily. B was very edgy around him. As we walked to his office behind him she whispered to me.

"He is sending my spider sense way over the edge here Faith. I think he is going to drive me insane," B honestly told me. I smiled at her gently and then that smile changed into an evil smirk.

"He is more powerful than you or I. He could have taken us all, if he had so desired. I feel him calling to me. His darkness is very deep – it is buried deeply – held and caged securely for now. He has so much darkness in him I could get lost and never find myself again," I honestly told her in response. She looked over at me very worried. "Calm down B. I'm not going to go all Darth Vader on you. I have accepted and so far conquered my beast. I know I have evil in me B – I know I can be evil – but why would I throw that all away – why go back to being evil and killing when I am completely happy saving people's lives and stopping said evil from taking over this planet?" I asked her. "Oh come on B. I'm good. I might not look it or act like it all the time but I'm one of the good guys now. I'm batting for the winning team," I told her.

"That's what I'm afraid of Faith. What if you realize evil is gonna win? You gonna jump sides and join their 'winning team'?" She asked me angrily as she stepped in front of me effectively halting us both.

"Not likely. Keep it up B though and I just might – just so you can say 'I told you so' to all your little Scoobies. I'm the fuck up Slayer B – you are the perfect one. I know my role – now you make sure to stay in yours," I snapped back at her and angrily brushed past her. She grabbed my arm on the way by spinning me back around to face her.

"No! Faith. Look – I am trying. It is so hard for me. I gave you every chance – every chance! You destroyed every ounce of trust I had in you. Then you turned yourself into the police for all your crimes and I thought perhaps you would get help. But no, you then con Cordy into getting you out and then turn on her. You killed innocent people again Faith – you almost lost yourself in that darkness and evil yet again. I know that you did all this to get revenge on W&H and Darla and Dru and I know that you actually did kill Darla and almost yourself in the process. But you betrayed everyone's trust again. It isn't that easy for me. I thought I was going to have to come to L.A. to put an end to you for good Faith. I didn't want to have to waste my time fixing your mistakes again!" Buffy yelled in my face. I opened my mouth to speak and then quickly snapped it shut. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. By the time I opened my eyes and was ready to speak Cordelia had put herself between Buffy and me and had gotten in B's face.

"Don't you fucking start this shit now! I thought that I had made it perfectly clear to you when you insisted on coming with us that you were never – under any circumstances to bring up her past and pass your judgment on her again. She isn't the same woman you knew Buffy! She is different. You don't know her anymore!" Cordelia yelled.

"She betrayed you and…" Buffy started but was cut off by Cordelia.

"And I trust her right now despite everything that she did, yes. I let her sleep in the next room over in my apartment without locking my door or having a weapon to use against her in easy reach. *I* know her now. I realize exactly what she did to herself to get in tight with Darla and Dru. Fucking ask her why she did what she and stop assuming you know why she did it! FUCKING ASK HER!" Cordelia continued to scream in the blonde Slayer's face, not afraid in the least of what Buffy could do to her if she really felt like it. I saw her then take a deep breath and re-center herself. I had taken several steps backwards away from the scene. Buffy turned to face me.

"Why Faith?" Buffy asked me. I looked at Cordy and then to B and then back at a smiling and nodding Cordy.

"Angel," I softly answered. I knew it was the reason and so did everyone else but Buffy.

"What about him?" B asked me.

"I did it all for Angel. He is the PTB's champion. He is their warrior. I am nothing but a Slayer. My time will come and I will die and another will be called. Angel has to stay alive; he has to be there for the final battle. I don't. Why do you think I'm here B? To beat up a professor? To slip into his darkness? I came here without hesitation because he is my only link to Angel. I have spent the last ten months trying to find Angel and the others have spent close to two years. This man is the link. The PTB want their champion back and I intend to find him and beat it into him that he is never to leave them…or me…ever again," I honestly told her.

"You want him! You really think Angel would be with you?" B spat at me.

"He left the country for a reason Buffy. Just like he left you for a reason," the professor finally spoke again.

"Oh yeah what was it?" B snapped, daring him to continue with his train of thought.

"He fell in love with someone else. He left Sunnydale because he couldn't kill her – you could and you tried. He left L.A. because he couldn't kill her – Darla could and she tried. He fell head over heels in love with Faith the moment he saw her.

"Buffy – you are like fire to him – so beautiful to look at but no matter how hard you try to avoid it you always get burned. You are the truest Slayer in centuries, maybe millennia even. You are a pure soul – holy – just – perfect – the Slayer. He touched you, he made love to you, and he couldn't handle the ramifications of that.

"Faith is his equal because she is one of light and darkness. She too constantly is fighting to head towards that light. Faith is his soul mate – the perfect person for him to be with. He could make love to her and not get burned – he could love her and not lose his soul – although it is permanently anchored to him courtesy of the PTB. He can be with her and be himself – he doesn't have to hide any of him because she knows his darkness, she knows it all.
"Don't take offense to that Faith. You know that you aren't the white knight. You aren't pure and that is the way that the fates wanted it. You weren't meant to be Buffy's shadow, you were meant to be Buffy's opposite.
"Buffy, I know that you probably don't understand how Angel could love her. But he does. She is his light and he is hers. Without the other they are both miserable. I have been listening to that damned Irishman brood for the past few years about everything. He broods a hell of a lot more when Faith wasn't in his life in a positive way. He was so proud of you Faith when you killed Darla."

"How do you know Angel anyway? He never talked about any friends." Gunn interrupted his speech.

"I met him back in Galway in 1753. I think it was about thirty-six hours after he had been turned. He was hungry and looking for a meal to play with to impress Darla. He didn't realize that I was going to kick his ass until it was too late. So I whipped his ass – befriended him – traveled with him for a century or so and then disappeared shortly before he got his curse. We ran into each other about seventy-five years ago in Chicago. We didn't exactly hang out but we kept in touch. We wrote to each other, called when necessary. He just needed me in his life. See - I've gone through his pain. I've been on his side before. I'm sure it'll happen again."

"What do you mean been on his side? How in the hell did you meet him two hundred forty-seven years ago? You aren't a vampire!" Buffy argued with him, confusion and hostility evident in her voice.

"Neither is Anya and she made it one thousand years."

"She was a demon."

"True. I am not a demon in the literal sense. Some have called me that. It was easier for them to deem me a demon than human considering the things that I did. But I am getting way off topic here Buffy. I have done things that I am not proud of. I have done things that I will have nightmares about for centuries to come, but I am not going to be all broody like. I just deal with it. I helped him deal and he kept in touch. Look, you came here to find Angel and I think that we should continue this conversation in the privacy of my office so the students who are staring at us won't be there to hear things that they shouldn't," he suggested to us. I nodded in agreement. He turned and continued to his office. Cordy grabbed my hand, lacing her fingers with mine, and drug me along. Buffy trailed in the back of us and Gunn walked in front of us a little behind the professor. He led us into a small little office and he took a seat at his desk and we just stood there rather awkwardly.

"What is your name?" I asked him suddenly breaking the silence. "Not your name that you go by here Dr. Pierson, but your real name?" I asked him.

"You can call me Adam. I don't tell just anyone my real name," he quipped and I frowned.

"All right. Let’s cut the bullshit ok? We are here to find out where Angel is. You know and we want to know too," Buffy suggested to him.

"I don't think that you understood me the first few times that I explained to you that I have no clue where he is. He calls me. I don't ask and he doesn't volunteer information."

"How often does he call you Adam?" Cordelia asked as I sat down in the other chair in the room.

"Once a week usually. He is due to call today actually; you picked a good day to harass me."

"Ok. So when you talk to him tell him that you would like to see him again. Tell him to come here to visit you at the college or your home around here. Then when he gets to your house we will confront him." I suggested quietly.

"I personally don't think that he will come."

"Why not?" I asked Adam in disbelief.

"Because I have never asked him to come and be with me before, so he will probably think that something is up. He won't just buy into the whole fact that I want to see him. I think that you are going to have to think up another way to get a hold of him. He won't come," Adam tried to tell us.
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