Disclaimer: Copyrighted characters are copyrighted. Property o' Joss Whedon and Denis Leary.
Warning : Strong language, adult situations, violence, graphic descriptions of burn victims, and gender, religious and racial epithets.
Author's notes: Ideas abound! Moving on to part 2.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
The crew remained staring in stunned silence for several moments after they were confronted with the appearance of the spy in the House of Testosterone. A spy that, given other circumstances, they would do their level best to put the moves on with wild abandon.
Faith arched an eyebrow after several moments. "Please tell me you guys don't sit and stare like this when there's a fire."
That seemed to snap the crew out of their stupor. Lou glanced around significantly. "Ice," he hissed, reminding them of their vow to give her the cold shoulder. They began to gravitate toward the door that Faith was standing in front of.
Except, she didn't seem inclined to get out of the way. "No."
Tommy leaned down as if he hadn't heard her. "No? No what?"
"No, we're not doing this," Faith explained semi-patiently.
"And to which 'this' do you refer?" Lou asked with faux-solicitousness.
"This whole riff where everyone avoids talking to me, tryin' to make me feel like the house pariah. Ain't gonna happen."
"Oh, really? And why's that?" Tommy leaned back with his arms folded, chin lifting slightly.
"Cause I really don't give a shit if you talk to me or not. So long as you talk when it matters, we're five by five the rest of the time." Faith abruptly reached out her hand to snap her fingers in front of Garrity's face. "Hey. Up here."
Garrity’s ears began to turn red from being caught looking and brought his gaze back up to her face. "No! I was just… I saw this thing that…"
"Yeah?" Faith looked expectantly at Garrity waiting for the rest of the explanation. The rest of the crew looked at Garrity with a mix of trepidation and anticipation, much like one might wait for the crash in an inevitable car accident.
"I… was… just… checking out the zipper on your jacket," Garrity finally produced, pointing at the zipper that had ridden up the track of her open leather biker's jacket. Unfortunately, the zipper was presently over the very region that Garrity was trying to avoid looking at, talking about or acknowledging the existence of.
Faith looked down at Garrity's index finger, then down at herself, and finally back up at his face. "The zipper," she stated skeptically.
"Yeah, the zipper, that's all!" Garrity nodded hopefully.
"The zipper that you're still pointing at," Faith noted.
"What? No, I'm not - oh dear God!" Garrity jerked his hand back down to its side like it had caught on fire. "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention, I was-"
"Distracted by my tits."
"Yeah, I – no, that's not it!"
Faith shook her head and decided to take a small modicum of pity on the bumbling firefighter. "One of you guys want to help him out?"
"Not really." Lou shrugged. "This is the most fun we've gotten out of him in weeks."
Chief Riley rubbed at his forehead. "Garrity."
"Okay Chief." Garrity hung his head, relieved and mortified all at once.
Faith suppressed a sigh. It wasn't like she hadn't expected something like this. Deciding that moving on was the better part of valor, she reached back and extracted a large manila envelope from under her jacket where it had been tucked into her waistband. Once she'd smoothed a wrinkle or two out of it, she offered it to Chief Riley. "Here. Transfer papers."
Chief Riley took the envelope from Faith and extracted the contents, Faith's record, test scores and the like up through the present. "Transferred in from Boston?"
He began to read through her exam scores and gave a grudging nod. "Not bad at all," Riley allowed.
"Modest, too." Riley got an odd half-smile on his face. Strangely, she was striking him as just another cocky young firefighter ready to run into the mouth of Hell.
"Modest is for people that can't. I can
." Faith was beginning to get bored with the proceedings.
Tommy interrupted, still curious about something he'd seen a few minutes prior. "You know our volunteer, Xander?"
"Yeah, we were friends back in California, so?"
He held his hands up peacefully, but his gaze never wavered. "Just wondered."
"Whatever. So, we all on the same page here? You want to pretend you don't know me outside of a job, fine. The calls come in, you put your ManPants on and deal with me just like anyone else, yeah?" Faith locked eyes with each of the crew in turn, not quite a challenge but not leaving much escape room.
The rest of the crew exchanged glances like a hot potato. "Let's see how you do on the job, first," Chief Riley stated, laying it out plainly.
"Fair enough." Apparently satisfied, Faith turned to walk back out into the truck bay and paused. "Chief? Before I forget, Peter told me to tell you 'hi'."
Chief Riley cleared his throat uncomfortably, not caring for a publically delivered message from his son in Boston, whom the crew had only recently learned was gay. But before he could say anything, Faith had left to where Xander was putting her bunker gear in the locker of their recently lost crewmember, Billy Warren.
The crew was briefly silent in the aftermath of Hurricane Faith. Finally, Tommy broke the ice. "Not exactly a girly type, is she?"
"I dunno, Tommy, she's got all the right equipment." Franco, predictably, was peering through the doorway with the professional interest of a skirt-chaser.
"Except the equipment that can carry an unconscious grown man out of a burning building without chipping a nail." Tommy snorted. "Goddamn FDNY. They make all these special allowances without taking the needs of the job into consideration, y'know?"
Riley was staring at Faith's file intently. "I wouldn't be too sure about that, Gavin."
"What?" Tommy peered over the Chief's shoulder to see what he was reading. In short order, he found what Riley had and murmured, "Holy shit."
Lou raised an eyebrow, "What is it? Special dispensation? Grandfathered in before the standards were set?"
Tommy and Chief Riley shook their heads. "No, she passed the physical with flying goddamn colors," Tommy replied.
"The one for women, sure." Franco shrugged. "So?"
"No, not the one for women. She left the Boston Academy at the head of her entire Probie class," Chief Riley explained. "Fifteen men, six women. She left them all in the dust."
While the crew was chewing on that, Xander was out in the garage staying out of Faith's way while she adjusted her gear. "You sure you still want to go through with this?" he asked gently.
"I kinda have to, right? This is where Giles said I was needed. Besides, I couldn't stay in Boston anymore." Faith moved her helmet around and checked out her coat.
"I'm just checking. You might be able to take them all in a fight, but they're still not going to make life easier on you. Peter told you what to expect." Xander folded his arms.
"I know. I'll deal."
Xander nodded dubiously. "You going to do a couple of sweeps before you come home?"
"Yeah, I marked where on the map in the living room." She seemed satisfied with the way her locker was arranged and closed the door. "You get my bike set up?"
"Stakes are in the seat hatch. Call me if you run into a problem? Also, might want to go move it. The spot you picked has a two hour limit."
"Yeah, yeah." Faith gave Xander a swat on the ass as she went to go move her bike and was rewarded by a satisfactory unmanly squeak and jumping on Xander's part.
"Y'know, I bet Buffy never did that to Giles." Xander grumbled, going back to swapping out oxygen tanks from the fire truck.