Disclaimer: See 1st chapter. I own nothing and write for fun not profit. [Still making quite free with Joss and Stephenie’s dialogue.] Also thanks to Buffywiki for the demon-y info!
A/N: Begins the morning after ‘Struggles’.
Jasper noted the room was perceptibly brighter than usual. He winced at the thought of how he must look. He had grown accustomed to the almost continual cloud cover of Forks and without… well, the sunny day had caught him unawares. He padded over to the far window to lower the blinds and seal the drapes as best he could. He paused by the second window to examine Faith’s sleeping form. His vision was keen, far sharper than the average human, but in the constant overcast weather of Forks he had never noticed the strands of red interwoven in Faith’s raven hair. His eyes trailed down her back, her tank top was hitched up and he saw that he’d never noticed the patchwork of scars on her lower back. He stepped closer, inching her top up carefully not wanting to disturb her with the touch of his cold hands. He saw that the web extended up and down her back. The tops of her thighs were covered as well. Unthinkingly he reached out to touch a larger scar, thicker than the rest just underneath the curve of her buttocks.
She hissed and rolled over frowning, “cold hands,” she muttered. Then her eyes flew open, “wicked,” she breathed, “You’re shiny.”
Jazz looked self conscious and pulled the blinds shut briskly. Faith chuckled. Jasper loved that sound, low and throaty and distinctly Faith.
“I thought Bel was exaggerating, but you’re real sparkly,” she smirked.
“Faith, what happened to your back?”
She frowned again and stretched experimentally. “Nothing, Jazz, I’m five by five.”
“Yes, I know. I am referring to the scars on your back.”
Pain and revulsion flowed from her so quickly it took Jasper’s breath until he gained control. She glared, “Don’t worry about it.”
Faith yawned as she went down stairs for breakfast. She really shouldn’t have been out so late last night. It had been good to get out of town and have a ride alone though. Sleepily she turned over in her mind the things Jazz had told her last night.
She saw D sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by ancient, moldy looking books with names like ‘Cope’s Compendium’ and remembered the Prof had located a nest of Suvolte demons in Calgary, Alberta.
“Do you still plan to go to Canada this evening?” The Professor inquired, barely glancing up from her books.
“Yep,” Faith poured a mug of coffee and went to sit at the table. She scanned one of the open books, ‘Suvolte: a particularly vicious species of demons…due to their fast reproductive and maturation capabilities…and their brutality they are highly valued on the black market and widely sought for use as foot soldiers.’
“Easily recognized tall, scaly creatures with extremely big snouts,” D read from the book she was studying, “exceptionally strong and capable of leaping large distances. Their scales are tough which makes them highly resistant to standard weapons.”
“Should be fun,” Faith said, “I’m getting bored with the vamp action in these parts.”
“If you find any eggs nearby, which have a leathery, pod-like appearance, be sure to destroy those as well. Suvolte spawn resemble large insects, and are capable of moving and killing in only minutes after hatching.”
‘The Prof is like an encyclopedia with arms,’ Faith thought.
The Prof shut her journal and looked at Faith, “Are you taking the vampire with you then?”
“Was thinkin’ bout it.” Faith said uncomfortably.
“Well, perhaps you can lend him your broadsword, you won’t need it if you choose to take this.” She pushed a large flat package across the table with a small smile.
Faith still wasn’t used to gifts. The Prof always gave her stuff like books and weapons, but it was more than anyone had ever given her before. She slowly unwrapped the plain brown paper. Inside was a beautiful katana.
“Wow, D, this is a thing of beauty!” Faith exclaimed holding the sword up to admire its craftsmanship. She fleetingly remembered her tanto from Sensei Kanno, ‘Hope tonight goes better.’
“It arrived from Hokkaidō by post this morning.”
“Thanks D, you’re the best!” Faith’s brilliant smile lit up the room.
Now it was Professor Dormer’s turn to be uncomfortable, “Yes, well, use it well.”
Faith was going to take the Suvoltes out tonight. She thought maybe Jazz should go with. He needed to get out and do something besides brooding.
“Want to go kill some demons in Calgary?” she asked when she returned to her bedroom, carefully avoiding all scar-related topics.
“How will you be traveling to Canada?”
“Private airstrip over in Port Angeles.” Faith said as she gathered up some clothes and weapons. The Professor had contracted with a pilot at Aero Exec LLC for private air service.
Jasper looked at her obviously surprised.
“Hey I’m Forks based, not Forks bound.” Faith grinned as she headed down the stairs.
“I thought private planes would be very expensive?”
“What? Prof’s loaded. She just doesn’t spend her bucks on expensive cars.” Faith said as she wheeled her bike out of the garage. Faith ran her hand lovingly over her ‘78 Harley.
Jasper thought the red and orange flames were a bit flashy as he eyed Faith’s Harley Davidson with obvious distaste, “I thought the Professor had better things to spend her money on than expensive vehicles?”
“For the record - I paid for it. And it fits in the cargo hold. Don’t want to cab it covered in demon goo right?” Faith swung her leg over the bike and looked at him expectantly.
Jasper sat uneasily on the edge of his seat in the tiny plane. He had not flown many times owing to time zones and the need to avoid direct sunlight. He could sense Faith was looking forward to tonight’s fight. Suvoltes didn’t seem to require any of what Faith termed ‘fancy stuff’ to be slain.
“Take out the head or the heart.” She’d informed him gleefully. Faith was armed to the teeth with knives concealed about her person everywhere which was impressive considering the snug fit of her leather clothing. Jasper admired the fit though…very much. She had a shiny new katana as well that the Professor had gifted her with earlier in the day. He found himself dwelling on the hungers aroused by her lips, her skin…he knew he would have to hunt soon if he planned to remain in such close proximity to her.
Jasper hoped this flight would be safe and short. As they cleared a portion of the Rocky Mountains the turbulence was not pleasant, Jasper felt as if the tiny plane would shake apart. Mercifully it was brief and they were landed safely on an airfield outside of the Calgary city limits.
Jasper grumbled to himself as he was forced to get on the back of Faith’s bike again. She had smugly refused to relinquish the keys.
‘She drives like Edward or…Alice,’ Jasper thought. No, he would not think of her tonight. He needed to focus to keep Faith safe. She was becoming inexplicably more and more precious to him.
They found the demons easily enough on the southern edge of Calgary. They were in a small, business district on 118th Avenue. Faith and Jasper brought them to bay near Foothills Piano Store. Luckily it was late and there was minimal civilian foot traffic.
Jasper finished off the second to last Suvolte with his borrowed sword, piercing its heart. He turned to see Faith’s jubilant face as she crossed swords with the last demon. Jasper frowned, he was certain there had been one more of the foul creatures about. He turned to scan the area for it. He was distracted by Faith’s whoop of triumph as she beheaded her opponent. Then he watched as the missing beast reappeared behind her and heaved a piano at Faith.
He was there in a flash, taking up a defensive position over Faith as the demon moved in for the killing blow. Jasper thrust his blade straight through it. He was kneeling by Faith’s side before it dropped to the ground.
“Faith, are you okay?”
She glared at him balefully, “Do you see the piano in my lap?”
He heaved it away before helping her rise. He supported her as she hobbled towards her motorcycle. He absently noted she was bleeding from several small wounds. The scent was appealing, but he found it didn’t bother him nearly as much as he’d expected. She was Faith. Not food.
They made it only a few steps before Faith pulled him to a stop.
“It’s broken. Can you help me splint it? I don’t want it to heal crooked.”
Jasper sighed as he ripped his favorite shirt into strips. He tried to suggest they call for an ambulance or at least a taxi, but she flatly refused to leave her bike.
Faith looked at her Harley, riding with her leg splinted and sticking out at an odd angle wasn’t going to be easy…she sighed resignedly as she handed Jazz the keys.
The pilot knew better than to ask any questions as he flew them back to Port Angeles.
Jasper wanted to call an ambulance immediately when they landed. Faith refused. She wanted to go to Carlisle. Jasper had misgivings about going home, but he knew Faith needed immediate medical treatment. Carlisle would not ask awkward questions like the staff at the hospital.
He rode with Faith cradled carefully in his arms. He tried again to persuade her, “We should go to the hospital.”
“No hospital. Take me to Dr. C,” Faith pleaded.
“Faith, you need a hospital, x-rays. I can have Carlisle meet us there.”
Faith grabbed his arm and he looked into her dark, amber eyes, “Please, Jazz, no hospitals.”
The Harley roared up to the Cullen house. Jasper leaped from the bike with Faith still in his arms and ran for the house, letting Faith’s motorcycle fall to the ground.
Her eyes flickered open, “My bike!”
Jasper kicked the door open.
“Rosalie, get Faith’s bike into the garage. Emmett, get Carlisle!” Jasper bellowed. Carlisle was already there.
“Esme, clear the kitchen table. Edward my kit please!” Carlisle called out. They scurried to follow his orders Jasper already headed up the stairs with Faith.
“Why doesn’t he have a shirt on?” Bella whispered to Edward.
“I think it is holding the splint on Faith’s leg together. She is bleeding. You may want to go in the other room,” Edward kissed her on the forehead then ran after Jasper and Carlisle with the medical kit.
“Hey Fay, what did you do to your leg?” Emmett asked.
“Piano,” Faith murmured weakly. Jasper lay her down gently on the kitchen table. Carlisle was amazed that he had managed to bring Faith this far. She had several cuts and the gasp on her scalp was still seeping. He looked at Jasper, “You may go now.”
“No, I am staying here,” Jasper answered tersely.
“Jazz, it’s okay. Dr. C’s got this. Ed can help if he needs it.” Faith patted Jasper’s hand.
Edward put a hand on his shoulder and said softly, “Come, Esme wants a word with you.”
Jasper shook the offending hand off, “No.”
Faith watched Dr. C and Edward exchange a meaningful look – stupid telepathy – then C turned back to her. “My dear, what have you done to yourself?” he asked kindly.
Carlisle looked at Jasper questioningly.
“We fought a cadre of Suvolte demons. There was a piano store nearby and the last demon threw a piano on her. Her leg is broken in at least two places.” Jasper explained.
Dr. C looked dubious as he probed Faith’s leg, “I am going to have to reset this. You really need to go to the hospital for x-rays.”
Faith started to protest, but Jasper cut her off, “I have already tried. Please do what you can.” He pleaded with Carlisle to make her okay.
“Very well. She will need a walking cast which I do not have here.”
“I will go,” Edward offered.
“Do you know where they are kept?”
“No, show me.” Edward and Carlisle exchanged another look then Ed was out the door.
“Suvolte? What the hell is that?” Emmett asked.
“No idea. This is a beautiful bike,” Rosalie said admiringly as she wheeled it to the garage. She looked at her soul mate, “I do not believe he did it.”
“He went nuts when Bella got that tiny paper cut remember? Faith is a mess. I could smell the blood when they pulled up. Jasper carried her in his arms and was able to concentrate enough to not wreck her motorcycle.”
“Kind of like what you did for me, huh?” Emmett looked thoughtful as he watched Rosalie parking the bike next to Edward’s Volvo.
Jasper allowed Edward and Bella to accompany them back to the Dormer estate in Edward’s car. He thought perhaps a buffer would be wise. The Professor was very fond of Bella especially. She was out the door as soon as she saw Jasper carrying Faith.
“I can walk,” Faith hissed at him. Jasper merely smiled.
“Faith, Carlisle said you should stay off of your leg as much as possible,” Bella said in a worried voice.
“Faith! Explain yourself!” The Professor was breathless from running.
“Piano.” Faith said flatly, then hissed at Jasper again, “Put me down. I’m fine!”
“Yes, Jasper, that will be enough.” The Professor said stiffly. Jasper projected calm as he swept inside and gently placed Faith on the couch.