Chapter Twenty-Four: Won’t Get Fooled Again
Buffy, Giles and Wesley were gathered in the library when Sam strolled in, followed by his brother.
“Priority number one will be to find this demon as soon as possible. He could be anywhere. You will need to use every skill you have to find this elusive demon. It may be most difficult,” Wesley stated.
“We found your demon,” Dean replied after yawning.
Wesley eyed the brothers. Dean looked him over.
Wesley extended a hand. “Wesley Wyndam Price.”
Dean gave an amused smile. “Well, you’re exactly as I pictured.”
Wesley drew his hand back down to his side.
“I got the location of your demon. That Willy guy has zero tolerance for pain. I just shoved him a couple of times and he gave quicker than an easy girl’s skirt. I was just getting started.”
Buffy rolled her eyes.
“You should meet with this demon Buffy,” Giles replied.
“Don’t bother. The dude was eating dirt. And your Encyclopedias of Boredom were no where in sight.”
“Someone took him out?” Buffy asked.
“Oh it was more like, took him, threw him, shoved him, flung him and stabbed the crap out of him….not your average smash and grab.”
Willow, Xander, Oz and Cordelia strolled in. Buffy took a few minutes to update the group and turned to Giles.
“What do you think our next move should be?”
Giles leaned against the table. “I have a deep suspicion that the Mayor was involved in the death of the demon and the disappearance of the books of Ascension. You should check out the Mayor’s office but use extreme caution and avoid any face to face contact. We do not know the extent of his hand in all of this.”
Buffy nodded with confidence. “Okay, sounds like a plan. Willow, did you have any luck accessing the Mayor’s files?”
“I spent hours trying to get through all the security only to find a big fat load of nothing. He must have anticipated we would try something like this.”
“Have you tried the Hall of Records? It should contain his personnel file,” Sam suggested.
“Excellent suggestion,” Wesley said. “We should start there.”
Wesley rounded up a group for research. Sam started to head out with the group and looked back at his brother.
“To your paper pushing party? Sounds like loads of fun. I’ll pass.”
“Are you going with Buffy?”
Dean drew out a breath. “I think I’m going back to bed. I’m just so exhausted from – you know...”
Sam frowned, “I don’t want to know. See you later then.”
Dean scoped out the patrons in the Espresso Pump as he waited in line. Wednesday night must have been senior discount night as he was pretty much the youngest person in the shop. The girl who took his order looked about fifteen. In his past experience, if they looked fifteen they were fifteen. When the girl flashed him a smile, he returned a very polite, non-inviting one and quickly moved to the waiting area.
He picked up his coffee, swept out of the shop and ran right into someone. Faith was standing before him, a large gaping wound on her forehead. She was bleeding from a cut on her mouth but didn’t show much pain.
“Dean, I’m glad I ran into you.”
Dean kept a cautious distance from her.
“Why is that?”
“I just got out of a scrape with a nasty demon by the docks. Followed the bastard down to his lair. Found a whole family there. I was looking to torch the nest and thought you could help me with the fireworks.”
He studied her for a very long minute.
“I tried to get a hold of Buffy but her mom said she was out. Think you can swing this with me?”
She saw the hesitation on his face.
“I got the Watcher seal of approval if that’s what you’re worried about.”
She frowned when the hesitation remained on his face.
“If B were asking, you would have fallen into line without question. The Council felt confident enough to give me a second chance, why can’t you? Haven’t you ever made a mistake?”
After another long minute, he pushed off toward the curb.
“What kind of firepower are we talking about?”
After loading up on grenades and blowtorches, Dean followed in step next to Faith. They walked through the rough part of town, keeping an eye on the ominous figures roaming the street. Faith stopped in front of a rundown shipping factory.
“This is it.”
They stepped into the darkness and crept through the factory. It was eerily quiet and apparently abandoned. Faith frowned.
“I don’t get it. I saw all of them just an hour ago.”
Dean took another pass around the factory.
“Maybe they went to get dinner,” he said.
He heard Faith following behind him.
“Yeah, or maybe, you’re just a fool when it comes to a pretty face..”
Dean tensed as he twisted around to see Faith with a wicked grin on her face. She clocked him hard across the jaw. He blew back into a stack of crates. He shook the dizziness off as Faith lunged at him. His face hardened as he threw his legs out and kicked her in the gut. She stumbled back and smiled.
“You like it rough huh? I can handle that.”
She charged forward and threw a punch. He ducked and answered her with his own punch. She blocked him. They went back and forth across the floor of the factory, using any piece of equipment they came across to gain advantage in the brawl. Faith’s fists flew faster and harder as the rage within her overpowered Dean.
Faith hurled him across a rusted metal table. His body cracked when he landed hard on the table and rolled to the ground. He let out a groan and struggled to pull himself together. He swept his eyes around for some kind of weapon. He spotted a cash box sitting on the lower shelf of the table. He heard Faith charging and kept still.
Faith went airborne. When she descended toward him, he snatched the metal box, whipped around and smashed it in her face. She landed on her butt and blinked in shock. He flew forward and pinned her to the ground, gripping her by the neck. She enclosed her hands over his, trying to pry herself loose when she heard a thump.
Dean collapsed on top of her. Faith looked up to see Angel standing over Dean, a crowbar in his hand. Faith frowned.
“Why’d you do that? I was just starting to have fun with him.”
Angel regarded her sternly. “Didn’t anyone teach you about sharing your toys?”
Dean groaned as his eyes fluttered open. His vision was blurry and his head throbbed with the prick of a thousand knives. He raised a hand to rub his head when he heard a distinctive sound: a clinking of a chain. When his vision settled, he realized his wrists were bound with a thick iron chain. The end of the chain was secured to a hook in the wall. His eyes traveled further down and found his ankles were chained as well. He took a look around and groaned again. He was in that damn mansion. Why hadn’t he just burned the place to the ground?
Faith strolled in, a smug smile on her face. Dean set his chained wrists behind his back as she dropped a tray of snacks on the floor.
“If you wanted to get kinky with me, you should have just asked.”
He slowly tested the slack on the chains.
“I brought you snacks. You’ll need your strength for what’s coming up.”
She flashed a sinister smile. Dean glared at her.
“Does it involve me kicking the crap out you - you crazy bitch.”
Her smile faded and was replaced with a wrathful frown. She grabbed him by the neck.
“You might want to be a little nicer to me for your own good. You think I’m crazy now, just wait until a little later. It’s gonna get insane.”
She released her grip on him as someone else walked in.
“Well, sleepyhead is finally awake.”
Dean snapped his eyes to his left as Angel in full vamp face, grinned wickedly.
“Sonofabitch,” he muttered.
“Did you have a nice dream while you were out?”
Angel stopped next to Faith.
“Yeah, I dreamed about killing you – again,” Dean growled.
Angel chuckled, “Well, that makes two of us.”
Faith and Angel eyed each other with twisted smiles. She pulled a rolling cart draped with a black blanket closer to her. She unfolded the blanket to reveal some shiny torture tools. She picked one out and admired it.
“Can we play now?”
Angel grinned, “I love your conviction however, we’re missing the guest of honor.”
Faith smiled, “Let’s go get her so we can start the party.”
She pressed a hand against Angel’s chest. She kissed him hungrily. Angel wrapped an arm around her waist and returned the kiss with equal passion. Dean blinked at what he was forced to watch.
Angel broke away for a minute and looked at Dean.
“Not even he can save you now Winchester.”
Angel moved in a flash and struck Dean across the face, sending him back into unconsciousness.
At the Hall of Records, the group had been researching through stacks of books and files for the past hour. Sam poured through the selection of books he had picked out when he heard his cell phone humming.
“Dad?....no, I haven’t heard from him…”
Willow eyed Sam when he put his phone away.
“It’s my brother. He hasn’t checked in with my dad.”
Xander burst in and steadied himself. He had a big bruise on one side of his face.
“Xander! What happened? Willow asked.
“Angel – big bad Angel is what happened. And he’s got a new partner in crime.”
Buffy walked with Angel and Faith into the mansion and paused by the door.
“Okay, so where are the books?”
“There’s something I want to show you first,” Angel said.
Buffy frowned, “We don’t really have a lot of time.”
“I think you really need to see this,” Angel replied, “Buf.”
“What did you just call me? What’s going on?”
“Not much....until now.”
As a grin painted his face, he flashed into vamp mode.
“Now that you’re here, you can watch the show.”
He eyed the main area of the mansion.
“What are you...”
Her face shrouded with dread as she darted into the living area. She saw Dean chained to the wall, his face bloodied and bruised. She raced over to examine him.
“What did you do?”
Angel shrugged, “We we’re just having a little fun before the real party began.”
Buffy turned to Faith but kept her eyes on Angel. “Faith, we need to bolt, get Dean out of here.”
“Nah, he looks good like that. I think I’ll keep him around.”
Buffy drew out a breath and regarded Faith with disbelief. Angel moved in a blur and knocked Buffy out unconscious.
When Dean returned to the waking world, his head throbbed even worse than before. He pulled his eyes into focus.
“Are you okay?”
He drew eyes to his right side. Buffy looked him over with a concerned expression. When he met her eyes, she could tell he wasn’t happy.
“Never better,” he grumbled.
“Ah, finally we can start this show.”
Angel approached them, twirling a straight razor.
“You can’t do this,” Buffy cried.
Angel chuckled. “I can and I will. You see before I was so rudely interrupted by that redheaded bitch’s magical humanity leash, I was thinking of all the ways I wanted to torture you...not just physically but mentally. I usually like to just rip a heart out but yours Buf – yours I want to see bleed.”
“Go ahead just please let Dean go.”
“Look at that, you’re already begging and I haven’t even done anything.”
Faith sprung to her feet. “Ah, let’s do this. I’m tired of waiting.”
“Faith, you can’t be serious. Angel is a vicious killer. He’s just using you for his own sick agenda and when he’s done, you’re next on his list of maiming and torture.”
Angel shrugged, “Smart girl. Dead girl but smart.”
Faith scoffed as she snatched a scalpel. “So what if he is using me? Guys use me all the time. I use them. No big deal.”
“Listen to what I’m saying, sooner or later, Angel is going to kill you.”
Faith feigned a look of defeat. “Yeah, you’re right. In the meantime, watching him kill you slowly will be one hell of a last wish.”
She brought the blade dangerously close to Buffy’s neck. Dean silently tugged on the chain behind his back. Faith shot him a look.
“You can’t do this Faith.”
Faith frowned at Buffy. “You see, this is the problem. Ever since I came here, people have been on my back telling me what I can and can’t do. I can’t be reckless. I can’t blow off Slaying. I got to be like Miss Goody Two Shoes, I got to fall into line and obey and I kept asking myself why? What do you have that I don’t? I kick demon butt and I’m damn good at it. Why don’t I have the family and friends and the brooding boyfriend?”
“Because you’re a psychotic bitch, that’s why.”
Faith glanced at Dean. She straddled him and smirked.
“Aw, what’s the matter Dean, jealous that you lost to Angel – again?”
She eyed him coyly.
“Well, if you’re a good boy, I’ll let you take me for a ride before you die.”
She licked him seductively.
“No thanks. Crazy ass chicks are pretty much a turn off.”
Faith’s playful expression turned deadly as she backhanded him.
“Burn me once, no big deal. Burn me twice…now it’s personal.”
She glared at him and graced the blade of her knife against his throat.
“Leave him alone Faith.”
“I don’t take orders from you. You’re not the boss of me. You’re not better than me. You may think you are but you’re no where close.”
“No. I’m a ballpark better than you’ll ever be. Look at what you’re doing, who you’re aligned with. You had to chain me up because you know that’s the only way you could beat me. You had to resort to some black magic to get Angel. You have to threaten and beat up my friends to make yourself feel strong and powerful. You’re pathetic. That’s why you don’t have what I have.”
Faith lunged at her and pressed the scalpel against her cheek. Buffy felt the scalpel pierce her skin but swallowed back any ounce of pain. Faith relaxed and smiled.
“Not going to work B. You’re trying to push my buttons so I’ll end this right now but I’m not going to let you ruin what’s in store for you and this damn town.”
“And what might that be? This so called Ascension?
Faith grinned, “You’ll see, all in time.”
“Not if I can help it.”
Faith backed off toward Angel, clutching him to her. She kissed him hungrily.
“You can’t stop it.”
Buffy glared at her. “I can and I will. I always do.”
“In your dreams B. Not even you can stop the Ascension. The Mayor made this town and leased it to the demons as an endless feeding ground. But as soon as Graduation day hits, he’s evicting everyone and everything and I’ll be there watching as he chomps down on all your loser friends. Let that stick in your mind as your loverboy plays quick chop on you.”
Buffy studied her with evasive eyes. “I didn’t realize you were so disturbed.”
Faith shrugged, “I guess I’m just a great actor. I should get an Oscar.”
She turned and smiled smugly at Angel.
“You would just lose...to me.”
Angel slowly smiled. Faith looked at Angel and Buffy and stumbled back a few steps. Buffy glanced at Angel.
“The Ascension happens on Graduation Day. You think we got everything?”
“I’d say so.”
Dean observed Buffy and Angel. Buffy looked at Faith.
“Fooled you,” Buffy sang.
Buffy slipped easily out of the chains around her wrists. Faith gasped in horror.
“What the hell?”
The front door to the mansion crashed open and Willow, Wesley, Cordelia, Sam and Oz flew in, weapons raised.
“Angel and Faith are bad!” Xander hollered.
Faith lunged at Angel. The next few minutes flew by in a dizzying blur as Buffy and Faith sparred. Xander came at Angel with a large cross and hissed. Sam spotted his brother chained to the wall.
He ran over to his brother and checked him out. Faith darted out of the mansion as the group digested what had happened. The group dispersed after awhile, leaving Buffy, Angel, Sam and Dean in the mansion. Sam yanked on the chain several times but it wouldn’t budge. Angel tossed the key over to Buffy who crossed over to Dean. She unlocked the chains from his wrists. Dean rubbed his raw wrists.
“So this was all a set up? Why did you fail to mention this to us?”
Buffy worked on unlocking the ankle chains. “I had to let everyone else be convinced Angel was bad. I couldn’t risk Faith picking up on it. I didn’t think she would go after you.”
Dean glanced at Angel.
“So he’s not evil?”
He set his eyes back on Buffy.
“No. Are you mad?”
He drew out a breath and massaged the back of his head.
“I’ll get back to you.”
He quickly ambled out of the mansion. Sam shot Buffy a look of sympathy before running out to catch up with his brother.