Title: Freak of a Genetic Nature
Series: The Trouble With Clones
Summary: Seventeen years after ‘Chosen,’ Faith investigates a series of murders in Seattle where the police have few clues—other than the missing teeth. When she finds the killer, imagine her surprise when he looks just like Dean Winchester.
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, obviously, and I’ll try to keep up with which fandom is which. BtVS/AtS is easy – Joss Whedon’s of course. Dark Angel – James Cameron. Supernatural – Eric Kripke.
Note: I’m not sure if each of the stories within this series will be a crossover with BtVS or if some of them will be strictly SPN/DA, so I am using the ‘series’ function instead of calling it one cohesive story. I just don’t want to call something a BtVS crossover if that segment isn’t.
As always, thank you to MaraLiz and Rorylondra for your lovely beta assistance!
Timeframe: Post-Season 7 BtVS; S1 DA; Post-SPN
When Slayer Command asked Faith to check out whatever the hell was killing people and taking their teeth, the last thing she expected to find was a younger version of her de-facto brother-in-law. But, there he was, looking all of 15 years or so younger than Dean, but seemingly an exact replica of the oldest Winchester brother, as she watched him deposit the tooth in the hand of the statue of the Virgin Mary. Not for the first time, she wished Sam and Dean were with her now, instead of cornering a bloodthirsty werewolf in Des Moines. As much as she liked to kick Dean’s ass when they were sparring, she really wasn’t sure how she was going to handle this one.
Her Slayer senses told her that the man was mostly human, but he moved with an otherworldly grace that she couldn’t quite chalk up to the Winchesters. She had to find out more before she confronted him, so she followed him—at a safe distance—back to the abandoned warehouse he was using as his own personal hidey hole and waited until he had bunked down for the night before pulling out her cell phone and calling her not-quite-husband.“Hey, Faith,”
Sam answered on the second ring. “How are you? Did you flatten the thing killing those men yet? I hope so. I miss you.”
“Back at ya, babe, but unfortunately, I’m going to be a while longer,” she told him, smiling despite the seriousness of the situation. It seemed that she couldn’t ever help but smile whenever she thought of Sam and how he had managed to worm his way into the heart she had thought shriveled up and died long ago. Of course, it took him nearly a decade to break down her defenses before she finally acknowledged that she loved him, but that was beside the point.“Something wrong?”
he asked, all trace of humor gone from his voice. They both knew that any hunt could be their last hunt. Given the length of time they had both been hunting, the odds would eventually catch up to them.
“I’m not sure yet,” she admitted. “Tell me, is there any chance that Dean was spreading his DNA around Seattle about twenty years ago?”
Sam snorted before he answered, “Are you kidding me? The man was a walking hormone back then.”
“Back then?” Faith questioned, pulling a piece of hair that had worked free of her ponytail out of her face. She heard a noise to her left, and tensed, but then relaxed when she saw that it was one of the many vagrants that roamed Seattle’s post-Pulse streets at night. “What about last week when we caught him…”“Okay, okay,”
Sam laughed. “Some things never change. What’s your point?”
“Well, this is just a guess, but I think he may have a son, and said son is likely possessed by a demon,” Faith told him, explaining what she saw.“Crap!”
Sam exclaimed and then she heard a scuffling sound.“Just hold him, okay? We’ll be there in two days,”
Dean ordered as he had apparently won the battle for the cell phone.
“You got it, D,” she told him confidently. “You take care of the werewolf and then head this way. I’ll lock the kid down nice and tight and if he is possessed, he won’t be by the time you get here.”
She didn’t say what she would do if the kid wasn’t possessed and he didn’t ask her. He just closed the connection and she sighed. The last thing she wanted to do was kill Dean, Jr., but she couldn’t let him continue to slaughter people either.
The next day, when she stepped out of her hiding place, just as the kid was going to kidnap the priest, she knew he wasn’t possessed. She had watched as he dipped his hand into the holy water near the back of the church before making his way to the confessional. She ignored the lithe brunette until she heard her call the kid by name—Ben.
He turned at the sound of her voice and answered—Max.
They had a short conversation that Faith eavesdropped on and saw the moment he was going to leave. She had managed to work her way around behind him without so much as a sound and when he turned to make his getaway, he was met with her fist flying straight into his face. Otherworldly something-or-other or not, she was still a Slayer and one punch was all it took to take him down and knock him out and she was glad for that as people began filing into the church. The woman—Max—looked at her with amazed and distrusting eyes, but Faith didn’t have time for pleasantries.
“Either help me get him out of here or go run interference with the locals,” Faith hissed at her as she grabbed Ben’s arms and hauled him off into the side vestibule.
It took Max another moment to make her decision, but then the woman stepped in and helped her get Ben out of the church and into the alley. Faith reached into her pocket and pulled out a set of keys, tossing them to Max.
“My car is the grey rental piece of crap around the corner. Bring it here and we’ll get him out of Dodge. Then, we can figure this thing out,” she instructed, not even waiting for Max to comply with her demands before she started rummaging through Ben’s pockets looking for weapons. She had liberated two knives and a gun from his person before Max returned.
The younger woman left the engine running as she vaulted herself out of the car and jogged around to them. She didn’t need Max’s help to get him into the back seat of the car, but she accepted it so that she could get him in more gently than she would have if she were alone. As soon as they had him situated in the car, she instructed Max to pop the trunk, where she deposited the weapons and pulled out the magically reinforced chains she was glad Sam had insisted she take with her, just in case. She quickly fastened them around his wrists and ankles. She wasn’t sure how long he would remain unconscious and she certainly didn’t want him to be alert without restraints before they had him secured.
She moved around to the driver’s side and glared at Max, “Are you staying or coming?”
“I need a decision now. We have to move, so stay or go, either way, this car is leaving in five seconds,” Faith told her as she got into the car and put it into gear.
She was only slightly surprised when the passenger door opened and Max slid into the seat next to her. They left the alley like a bullet shot from one of the Winchesters’ guns, laying down enough rubber that the rental company would probably complain that she had stripped the tires beyond use, but all that really mattered was getting the kid out of the range of the public before he woke up. She would prefer having a real Slayer Compound to go to, but since the closest one was down in California, that wasn’t going to be possible, so she quickly called in a few of the hunting contacts she had made while traveling with Sam and Dean and learned that there was a more or less secure building a few miles away. It was an old library, something lack of funding after the Pulse had forced to close, and she could block the exits effectively with the bookshelves and piles of forgotten books.
About halfway there, Max finally spoke, “Back in the church, how did you do that?”
“Do what?” Faith asked as she turned north, following the directions she was given.
“Knock him out like that,” Max clarified.
“Yeah, I’m guessing you know he’s something more than human,” Faith commented in return, not answering Max’s question, but not because she didn’t trust the girl or because she thought Max was more capable than she was. Really, she was just trying to gauge how much of the truth Max already knew and how much she could accept. “But, then, from what I can sense, you’re a little different yourself.
At that, Max seemed to shrink in on herself. Faith didn’t get a danger vibe from her, just the sense that she was hiding, running from whatever she was. She thought about it for a moment before she spoke again, “Doesn’t really matter to me. It’s not like I’m rocking the 100% human factor myself, as you’ve already noticed.”
“Are you Manticore?” Max asked her and Faith could see her hand poised on the door handle. She knew, without a doubt, that the girl would dive out of the car if she gave her the wrong response.
“No, I’m not Manticore,” Faith assured her. “Actually, I have no idea what Manticore is, except that they have you spooked.”
They pulled around back of the library and into the service driveway, which would hide her car from the street. She turned off the engine and looked over at Max, “Let’s just get him inside and then we can talk, okay?”
She watched and saw the moment that Max’s resolve crumbled under the weight of helping Ben and the younger woman nodded. They worked quickly and efficiently, Max picking the pathetic lock on the door while Faith maneuvered Ben out of the car. Once they were inside and she had Ben—still unconscious, thankfully—secured to a bench that was cemented into the floor and the small store of provisions Faith had left in the trunk was brought inside, they blocked all of the exits and waited for him to wake up.
Max wasn’t really eager to share her life story with her, so Faith did a lot of the talking. She also noted that Max had carefully positioned herself between Faith and Ben, presumably to protect the kid if Faith decided just to kill him. Of course, Max had no way of knowing that she had no intention of killing him. The longer she was near him, the more she felt that part of her that told her when a Winchester was near. She was nearly certain that he was somehow related to Dean, even if she didn’t yet know how. If that was the case, then there might be hope for the boy yet. Even the sanest of Winchesters had some crazy in them, and in that moment, she counted herself among that number, so who better to help him through the potential psychotic break he was likely experiencing?
“And, you’re one of these…Slayers?” Max asked and Faith could hear the skepticism in her voice.
“Yeah,” Faith confirmed. “That’s how I was able to K.O. pretty boy here with one punch.”
Faith hesitated for a moment, but knew there was something she had to say to Max. “This place you mentioned—Manticore—I’m guessing it ain’t puppies-and-cotton candy.”
“You can say that again,” Max told her, looking away as a tear slipped down her face.
“But, that’s where you know Ben from, right?” Faith asked, waiting for Max’s hesitant nod before she continued. “Well, judging by the strength you seem to have, I’d say they were playing mad scientist and a couple of their pets slipped the leash. Am I right?”
“More right than you know,” Max answered with a sigh.
“Not really,” Faith told her. “I’m starting to smell the different animal DNAs in you. You don’t smell completely human.”
Max froze and Faith rushed to calm her. “Hey, don’t mean anything bad by it. Take it from a freak of nature herself, being a freak of genetic nature ain’t so much the problem as him going around doing homemade tooth extractions on the people he’s whacked. I’m just saying that he’s going to need time to heal whatever fucked his brain up, but I’m betting you won’t be able to help him do that and keep these Manticore fuckers off your scent. His late night romps have already made national headlines, so it’s only a matter of time before they come looking for him.”
“Not really much I can do about it now,” Max lamented.
“Maybe not alone, but I know some people who can help,” Faith told her, reaching into her back pocket and pulling out a business card. It didn’t have a name on it, just “In Case of Emergency” and three telephone numbers. She added her own number to the list and then handed the card to Max, “You get into trouble, call any of these numbers. No matter what crazy shit we have going on, we can get someone to you.”
“What about Ben?” Max asked, eyes wary.
Faith knew the woman wasn’t going to like her suggestion, but in reality, it wasn’t so much of a suggestion as a ‘this is the way it is going to be and if you don’t like it, you’ll wake up alone, with a hell of a headache, and never see us again.’ She took a deep breath and plunged on, “We both know there’s something really wrong with him and it’s more than any one person can deal with. You just can’t watch him every hour of every day. I have a couple of guys coming, but it’s going to take them another day to get here, two if I call them back and ask them to lay a false trail for Manticore to follow. But, when they get here, I think it’s best if Ben comes with us. We have the ability to help him and we know all the tricks. He won’t be able to fool us into thinking he’s better if he’s not.”
“What if he doesn’t get better?” Max asked.
“He will,” Faith stated with conviction. “There’s no other option.” Faith sighed heavily, “Look, Max, I promise you: we won’t let anyone hurt him.”
Another tear slipped down Max’s cheek and she nodded.
“Okay, then,” Faith told her. “While we’re waiting for Sleeping Beauty here to wake up, I’m going to call my boys and get them to lay that fake trail. You’ll still have to be on the lookout because it won’t fool them for long, but at least it will give you a head start.” Feeling the need to inject some levity back into her day, she turned and looked at the still unconscious Ben before looking back at Max with a smirk. “He’s been unconscious for, like, hours; I barely tapped him. Don’t tell me Manticore skimped on his super-charging.”
Faith and Max were in the middle of a game of War with a deck of cards Faith pulled out of her bag and swore was her ‘unmarked’ deck when they both noticed Ben was awake. When they looked over, he was watching them warily. His eyes were calculating and Faith knew he was trying to get out of the bonds she had carefully put him in. She wished him luck with that; Sam and Dean taught her how to secure possessed people while said possessed people were kicking up a shit-storm around them. Ben wasn’t going anywhere.
She motioned for Max to stay back and stood up, stretching her tired muscles. She wasn’t as young as she used to be, but she would have to just push through until the job was done, whether that was a couple of days until Sam and Dean showed up or however long it took for Ben to be on the right side of crazy again. On her way over to him, she picked up a water bottle and unscrewed the cap. It was an old bottle that she had been refilling with tap water for months, but at least it was clean. She just focused on the skittish man in front of her.
“Thirsty?” she asked, taking a quick swig of the water to show him that it wasn’t poisoned.
He didn’t answer her, but he also didn’t back away when she came closer. She knew he couldn’t get free, so she had no problem getting within arm’s reach of him. She lifted the bottle to his mouth and nodded in encouragement when he drank down half the bottle. She pulled the bottle away with a rueful smile, “Hey, slow down there, cowboy. It’s going to be a long night and neither of us wants to find out how long your bladder can last.”
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Name’s Faith,” she told him. “Here’s how this is going to work: we’re going to sit here and wait for some people and then we’re going to go and see what we can do to help your confusion and you are not going to be killing people anymore.”
“I have to test their faith,” he replied. “Their God didn’t save them. She
was with me.”
“Yeah, well now I’m
with you and, if She
wanted to keep me away from you, She
would have,” Faith told him.
“What does that mean?” he asked.
“It means that I know exactly where your headspace is trippin’ at today and I have some experience with it myself, so here’s what I’m promising you now: under all the confusion, under all the pain and anger and fear, there’s truth and forgiveness and a second chance,” Faith told him, leveling a steady gaze at him. She saw a multitude of emotions run through his eyes, from fear to anger to confusion and back to anger. He struggled for a few more minutes with the bonds before he must have realized that he wasn’t getting out of them. She could still see the fight in his eyes. He wasn’t ready to surrender, but she had hopes that between Sam, Dean and herself, they would be able to break him so they could rebuild him into a proper Winchester.
For now, though, this was just an introduction, not the beginning of anything really. She capped the water bottle and crouched down next to him and waited until his eyes locked on hers so he could see exactly how serious she was. She offered him a humorless smile as she spoke, “But, we can do this one of two ways, the easy way where you sit there and contemplate your navel until my company arrives or the hard way where I knock you unconscious again and again and decide whether I’ve caused you irreparable brain damage until my company arrives. Your call.”#