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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Vulnerability of Faith". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Charles Gunn left L.A. in 2006 to get away from the Angel Investigations. Twenty-three years later his son shows up in L.A. to find Angel -- to let Angel and Company know what really happened to Charles Gunn. Sequel to "the vul. of faith"

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Other BtVS/AtS Characters(Moderator)DemonaFR181227,997034,0102 Aug 032 Aug 03Yes

Chapter Eight: When Slayers Collide

For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.

Chapter Eight: When Slayers Collide

“Thank you Faith. It is good to see you again,” Kate said and everyone got really quiet.

“Excuse me?” Faith asked, confusion evident in her voice.

“You don’t remember me do you? I was different then. I met you years ago in the Bronx,” Kate told Faith and Faith looked very confused.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about,” Faith commented.

“2023, a back alley in the Bronx behind a bar. I remember your face, a pity you don’t remember mine,” Kate said and I could see Faith searching her memory for such a date, such an occurrence.

“I didn’t sense you that night. I was letting down my guard, thinking that the Council would keep its charges in England. I never even thought that a Slayer could be in New York City,” Faith quietly stated and I looked at my sister in shock.

“You are a Slayer and you never told me about it?” I asked angrily.

“It wasn’t really any of your concern Wesley. Dad knew and that was all who needed to know. People thought our family was weird enough, I didn’t need to be added to the mix as a superhuman girl,” Kate quietly told me.

“You know Faith. Why? How?”

“I went on that trip to NYC with Dad a few years ago, remember? I had just become a Slayer and I was eager to help with the slaying. The two of us had gone out on patrol that night and I had sensed what I thought was a lot of vampires. Turns out it was just three, two on one. It looked like just another vampire fight between clans. I figured I would let them kill each other off and then dust the winner(s). It didn’t end like that though. A few more vampires snuck up behind us. Dad and I were forced to deal with them. I was so busy killing my own set of vampires that I didn’t see the ones that Dad was losing to. He called out to me but I before I could even get to him the two vampires were ripped away from him and dusted and he stood face to face with Faith. I saw her face as it melted from her vampire visage to her human mask in the overhead street lamp. I finished my vampires off while Dad and Faith squared off. I was surprised when he punched her in the face. She took it, smiled sadly at him and then just walked away. I went to go after her but he grabbed me and held me back. She disappeared into the darkness of the alley and Dad refused to discuss it and only said: ‘I knew her before she was a vampire’. I never understood completely until now,” Kate carefully stated. “Why were you in NYC?”

“Business. Giles heard about this huge fiasco that was going to go down there, the rising of a Master vampire or something of the sorts. The two of us along with Oz and Willow went to put an end to it. We did and then we all flew back to California. We certainly didn’t think a Slayer would be there. We hadn’t seen one since Robin in 2005, when she as well as several Watchers were killed by Buffy and her crew. You are lucky to be alive still Kate,” Faith told my sister calmly.

“You too. If I had my way only one of us would have walked out of that fight alive.”

“Then you would have died Kate. Killing a Slayer doesn’t faze me,” Faith shot back and I knew she wasn’t lying.

“You have a lot of faith in yourself don’t you? No pun intended.”

“I know more about slaying then you ever will. Because what you don’t know about me is that I was you, for years. I was a Slayer before I became a vampire Kate. I was you. And I’m better than you. I have been at this slaying gig for like thirty years,” Faith told her. “I’m not afraid of you at all Kate, I never will be,” she finished. I saw Kate about to respond but Angel entered the store behind us, causing her to whip around naturally. I grabbed her, holding her before she attacked him.

“Kate, this is the other, this is Angel,” I quickly told her.

“Cute name for a male vampire,” she quipped and he actually smiled back at her.

“Thanks Slayer,” he responded and I noticed he had the box in his hands.

“You got the box open?” I asked, quickly changing the subject.

“Yeah, the combination was the date of Cordelia’s ‘final’ death,” Angel quietly answered.

“What did the box have in it?”

“Pictures.”

“Of?” I asked, morbid curiosity getting the best of me.

“Of lots of people. Of you and Kate with both your parents when you were young. Of you both as you grew older. Of me as a human and me as a vampire years later. Of Faith fighting in NYC. And last but *certainly* not least, the most important pictures in the box…Cordy,” Angel spat out and tossed the dozens of pictures up onto the counter. The pictures didn’t mean anything to me but by the look on Angel’s face as well as the faces of the group they meant something big.

“What is the big deal with pictures of Cordelia?” I asked, as I started to thumb through the pictures.

“They were taken of Cordelia after she ‘died’ in 2007,” Angel snapped angrily. I looked up shocked. “He left you a letter Cordelia,” Angel quietly stated and pulled the letter out of the box.

“Did…did you…?” She stumbled over her own words.

“No, Cordy. It isn’t my letter to read,” Angel told her quietly.

“Thanks,” she quietly stated and took the letter and started to walk away, holding up a single hand to keep Faith away from her as she headed towards the back room to read the letter that Gunn had left for her. Faith looked a little hurt by the fact that Cordelia didn’t want her with her, but she dismissed her sad face quickly and headed up to the counter where I was still going through the pictures. She quietly went through them. I noticed there were several pictures of Faith and Cordelia together ‘together’ for some of the pictures. So my father has figured it out and knew that Cordelia had staged her own death. He wasn’t as dumb as they thought him to be.

“I had no idea that he knew,” Faith quietly breathed out. “These pictures were before we met in NYC. He knew the whole time before that evidently…would explain why he punched me,” she said and I nodded slightly.

“I don’t understand why he didn’t come back if he knew she was alive,” I quietly asked.

“Because he knew that I was dead to him. Even though I would love him forever, it didn’t matter, we were no longer alive to each other,” Cordelia’s voice confidently answered my question after she came back from the back room.

“So you are saying my father knew the whole time that he was being tricked?” I asked, pissed off.

“No, he didn’t know the whole time. He didn’t find out I was alive until after your mother died. By then it didn’t matter. We were no longer in each other’s worlds,” Cordelia explained to me.

“How…?”

“The letter explains it all. He knew that I was with Faith when he saw her and that is the reason that he punched her and then left her alone. He was pissed that we had all done this to him. It hurt,” she said and I looked up as her voice cracked. Silent tears were streaming down her face.

“You have no right to cry!” I snapped angrily at her. “How dare you cry when you are the one that did this to him? How dare you?”

“I have the right to cry Wesley. I did this because I thought it would be best for him. If I hadn’t done this then you would have never existed and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Fate watches over us all the time. Your father wasn’t the only one hurt in the exchange. I lost him as well. It hurts me to see you! How about that? Did you ever think about that? I hurt when I see you because I know that he went out and found someone else to love and to have children with. I hurt because I couldn’t have children with him. That hurts me beyond belief. I am happy that he found someone he could have children with Wesley, but seeing you just reminds me of my own problems and the reason I couldn’t be Gunn…it hurts,” Cordelia told me with tears still falling down her face.

“I don’t care what you think or feel. You broke my father’s heart…”

“She saved his life by letting him go!” Angel snapped at me. I whirled around to face him.

“You are one to talk about saving lives and letting go. I heard what you did to Faith!” I snapped back at him.

I was knocked over the counter before the impact of the punch to my face registered. I hit the floor on the other side with a crack and heard punches being thrown nearby. Probably my sister and Angel, I kinda hoped she staked him. Dawn was helping me to my feet when I saw Kate tumble down the steps that were next to the counter. She rolled to her hands and knees and I saw Faith kick her in the face. Her head snapped back and she landed on her back. Faith went to kick her again but suddenly she whipped around and glared at Angel. He hadn’t said a single word to get her attention, as to why she whipped around so suddenly I had no idea. So I looked at him and his eyes were filled with sorrow and sadness. I knew then that I had mentioned something to him that I had no right to dig into. The fight visibly left Faith’s body. She didn’t even see my sister stand up with the stake in her hand. She didn’t even react until the stake went through her heart from the back and came through slightly on the front. Angel’s eyes widened almost comically and then he looked down at his own chest. To my amazement blood was coming out of his heart and bleeding down onto his shirt. Something was definitely off about this situation. They hit the floor at the same time. Kate looked down at her waiting for her to turn to dust but when it didn’t happen after a few moments she looked very confused and fear was evident in her face.

“Angel…Faith?” Adam’s concerned voice loudly asked as he rushed the two of them. I walked over to my sister and she looked completely confused.

“I staked her. You see the stake through her heart right?” Kate asked me.

“Faith!” Cordelia called to Faith as she sank to her knees next to her and pulled the stake out of her heart and they then flipped her onto her back. Faith shoved Cordelia away from her. She sat up and locked eyes with Kate.

“You shouldn’t go around staking things when they have their back turned to you. Were you too cowardly to stake me face to face?” Faith asked my sister. My sister didn’t reply. “Thought so,” she said and then passed out on the floor. Dawn kneeled down beside Faith and placed her hands above the wound over Faith’s heart. Her wound as well as Angel’s started to heal with a green sparkling light and then once the entire hole was closed the light disappeared. Adam scooped Faith up in his arms and rose to his feet. Angel managed to stand up with Cordelia’s help and he turned to face Kate.

“Child of Gunn or not…one more staking of her out either of you and you both die. Do I make myself clear? You freaked her out good last time boy…don’t make me teach your sister the lesson Faith taught you,” Angel hissed at me and glared at Kate. He carefully walked with Adam and Faith into the back room, where there was a bed they could rest on. Cordelia, however, didn’t use words to get her word across. She punched Kate in the face hard and knocked her to the ground. I didn’t go to help my sister; I knew that Cordelia wouldn’t kill her.

“Touch my lover again…and Gunn’s corpse will hear you scream,” Cordelia calmly told Kate. Kate rose on shaking legs.

“You gonna kill me, a *human*, if I touch the *vampire* again?” Kate asked back, taunting Cordelia.

“Kate, perhaps you should not…” I started but she cut me off.

“Stay out of this brother. You obviously don’t know what they have done to you. I think they have brainwashed you into believing that vampires are ok…let me tell you, they aren’t!” Kate yelled at me. I punched her in the face hard. She stumbled a step but didn’t fall.

“I know these people. I know that vampire you just staked. She isn’t evil Kate. She is just like you and me. Maybe she isn’t like us actually…because her and this crew don’t see the world as black and white…they see the gray in the middle and the colors on the outside. There is no distinct line between black and white, they blur together and most people or things are both. I was told tales of vampires with souls, soulless vampires who loved vampire Slayers, and tales of vampire Slayers who killed humans just to get off on it. Where is the line there? A Slayer kills the evil; what happens when she is the evil?”

“There’s no such thing as an evil Slayer!” Kate said. “We are the good in the world. All we are capable of doing is good,” she tried to reason with me.

“Wrong Slayer,” Angel stated from the doorway to the back room. He had taken off his shirt and there was no mark on his heart where it had been bleeding from earlier. “Slayers are more than capable of doing evil. In fact, I think you actually doing evil right now. You tried to stake a valuable member of the good team. Cordelia wasn’t joking when she threatened you and neither was I. Do we make ourselves clear children?” Angel asked. I nodded quickly but Kate refused to back down.

“I can’t believe that you are going to side with these strangers, evil things, over your own flesh and blood,” Kate yelled at me.

“The truth knows nothing of family and friends, only itself. You aren’t right Kate, sister or not, you are wrong,” I told her and she glared at me.

“I won’t just sit here and let you destroy Dad’s name!” She attacked me before I even realized she had moved. I hit the floor hard and she landed a few quick punches to my face before she was pulled kicking and screaming off of me. She was thrown over one of the tables and landed with a sickening thud on the other side. It took a few moments longer than it should have for her to get to her feet.

“Wesley, can you hear me?” A female voice asked. I had my eyes locked on Kate. She was pulling another stake out of her clothing.

“Watch her!” I muttered and then the blackness closed in around me.

**********

I woke up several hours later back at the hotel. Dawn was in the room alone with me. I looked at her and she immediately got to her feet and came to my bed.

“Oh good! You are alive. We were wondering if you were going to ever wake up. She hurt you pretty bad and combined with the injuries from the brief fight with Angel…I was a little worried,” Dawn told me gently and ran her hand over my cheek.

“Why are you worried about me? Don’t you think that someone else should, you should worry when Richie is hurt,” I shot back angrily.

“This isn’t about romance Wesley, this is about friendship. You were hurt; you are one of us now…you proved that today. We were all concerned when you passed out in Amanda’s arms,” she told me.

“Amanda…Kate, what happened to Kate?” I asked as I suddenly sat up.

“She escaped.”

“Escaped?”

“They tried to detain her so that perhaps we could talk some sense into her with your help, but she managed to get away because they didn’t want to hurt her. So, as far as we know she is still in LA. Adam, Mac and Richie are out looking for her.”

“How is Faith?”

“Faith is good. She just was really shocked that Kate would stake her in her back. Plus, you know, the whole stake through the heart, Immortal or not it takes it’s toll on your body,” she quietly informed me.

“Why did Angel bleed? He wasn’t staked, I don’t understand.”

“They are close Wesley, I thought we explained that to you.”

“What does close have to do with this though Dawn? His heart bled when she was staked. And I mean, she is dating Cordy and he just got back from a vacation with Cordy. I don’t understand the relationship between the three of them.”

“I told you that there is a strong bond between some of the group members. Faith, Angel and Cordelia are three of the five with the connection.”

“And the other two?”

“Adam and myself,” Dawn admitted.

“I don’t get the link. So what? You have a link. Big deal, I have the same blood as my sister…what makes this link so special?”

“You don’t have the same blood as your sister. I have the same blood as her. Slayer blood. It runs through me. I told you that I was made out of Buffy, who was a Slayer. The link is always there just not always open between all five of us. Today, right before Faith got staked Angel opened that link and yelled for her to stop. That is why she whipped around without him saying anything. That is why when they see each other they don’t have to say words physically they can just open the link and allow their emotions, inner thoughts, and feelings to flow through to the other,” Dawn carefully explained to me.

“So, how does that explain why Angel bled due to Faith’s injuries?” I asked, pressuring her to answer my question.

“Because Wesley, the link was open. It is both a positive and negative thing. Once the link is directly opened then we expose ourselves to great injury. We experience the other’s pain and suffering, only we won’t die from it. We’ve only had it happen with certain injuries…this is the first time Faith and Angel have been staked together. Fortunately it didn’t kill him. None of us have been beheaded and we don’t know what the effects will be due to the link with that because we get the same injuries as the other…it might kill us too,” Dawn slowly explained to me. I was shocked.

“So because the link was open he technically got staked as well? Why isn’t he dust then?”

“Because he is different too Wesley. He was made from a vampire Slayer turned vampire. That breed is extremely strong. And he was a vampire before he was turned again. And a wooden stake didn’t pierce his heart like it did Faith’s…he was just physically feeling what she did, blood loss and everything. The link is both good and bad Wesley…it allows us to communicate without the barrier of words, but also can cripple us all if the link is open when one of us is hurt.”

“So, he is ok too then?” I asked as I swung my feet out from under the blanket.

“Yes, he is fine. No life threatening injuries that we can see thus far. The link drains them both though, especially when injuries occur. So Cordelia is taking the weight off them and putting it on herself to allow them to heal quicker.”

“So how come you other three didn’t get the heart wound?”

“Because we weren’t on a direct link with them. The link between the five of us is always there, always ready to be used, but not always directly open,” she carefully tried to explain to me.

“Oh,” I replied, finally grasping the idea now. “I have to find Kate before something happens to her. This city isn’t safe for someone like her. There are too many things here that would love to kill her and too many things that she won’t accept help from to save her,” I explained and Dawn nodded.

“I’ll come with you. I can’t let you go out alone. You too aren’t safe in this city.”

“What makes you think that you are going to be able to protect me?”

“Because if someone kills me then Faith will eradicate everyone they have ever had contact with in their life, starting with their loved ones and then when she’s finally finished she will make sure they die a slow painful death. Plus, I got the whole Immortal thing on my side which you are lacking,” she explained to me matter-of-factly.

“Fine. Get ready, we are leaving as soon as I am dressed,” I told her and she nodded and left the room. I pulled on some pants and a shirt, tied my boots and headed downstairs to the lobby to meet up with Dawn.
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