You're Not Alone
Thank you to everyone who's reviewed and tossed feedback to me. If I thought the last chapter was tough, this one was even more so, partly due to real life interference, partly just trying to balance character reactions.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and X-Men and Marvel belong to (I can't believe I'm saying this) Disney.
Faith jerked awake and rolled to her feet, ready to fight the intruder in her room, before she recognized her new companion and remembered: the demon, the hospital, her interrupted shower, and picking up her stuff on the way to catch a train. She only half-remembered the trip and going to the hotel in...
"Where are we?"
"Minneapolis, remember? We double backed from Chicago."
"With any luck, they'll be looking for two solo travelers, rather than a pair of sisters and we'll have some time to plan."
"It worked at the hospital."
Faith tilted her head in acknowledgment and began removing her bandages.
"How are your injuries?"
"Fine, but I think I gotta get these stitches out later today."
Kitty examined them for a moment, "You're probably right. I don't know where the clinics or hospitals--"
"No! No, way! Once this month is way too much. Just, I'll get some scissors or something, take 'em out myself."
"Ever done it before?"
"How hard can it be? Snip and pull, right?"
"Yeah, but if you're not careful, you'll cut or tear the skin. Kind of defeats the purpose of doing stitches in the first place."
"You got a better idea?"
"Actually, yeah. I do it."
"You're a medic, now?"
Kitty shook her head, "No, I learned because there've been times I couldn't go to a hospital."
"So, what now?"
"This guy chasing you."
Faith tensed, "What about him?"
"Why is he after you?"
"Why do you care? I mean, besides the whole mistaken identity deal."
"Because someone helped me stop running once."
Faith jumped up, "I don't run, I'm dead!"
"Keep going it alone, you probably will be!"
A stricken look crossed her face before dissolving into anger.
"So you're just gonna dump me--"
"I never said that!" Kitty snapped in her face.
"Then what are you sayin'?"
"Going solo, you have to do everything yourself. It's really easy to miss something and get hurt. Or worse. Got a partner, they can see thing you miss. Pull you out if things go wrong."
"What do you know about that?"
"You mean like ducking into an alley, hoping the car up the street isn't full of the gun-toting thugs hunting you? Or maybe watching a security guard get shot because he's trying to protect you? Or how about running from someplace that's supposed to be safe but isn't because everyone there is being mind-controlled?" Kitty stepped back, "And then there's the time I went solo and did get caught: caught, brainwashed, and sent to kill one of my closest friends.
"The only reason I didn't succeed is because he had someone watching his back. She stopped me and they hauled me off for deprogramming. Took more than two months to reverse less than a week of damage." Kitty turned and headed for the door, "The hotel has free breakfast until ten. Let me know what you decide."
Faith sat down in a slump as Kitty left. Her instincts told her the young woman had been straight with her and Faith wondered if she'd just blown her best chance at getting Kakistos off her back. True, there supposedly was some other Slayer running around in California but, the last Faith had heard, she'd disappeared.
She frowned, twisting around until she saw Lockheed watching her from the little nest he'd made from discarded clothes.
"What, you gonna rag on me, too?"
Lockheed pulled an item out of the pile and dropped it over her face. Faith removed the towel to glare at him.
Kitty moved the remains of her breakfast out of the way for Faith to join her.
"What did you decide?"
"You really think you can help me?"
"You got any ideas?"
"Sure, but somehow I don't think locking him up and looping 'The Song that Never Ends' would be enough."
"Now, that's just evil."
Kitty grinned, "Nah, evil would be saddling him with the X-babies."
"You know the X-Men?"
"Heard of them."
"Imagine them as preschoolers."
Faith almost spit out her juice.
"Exactly." Kitty leaned back and glanced around the empty room before continuing, "Now, how determined is the guy after you?"
Faith expression closed abruptly, "Why?"
"Some bad guys go for easy targets, others for a challenge or for pay, some become fixated on a target--"
"That," Faith interrupted, "and he'll kill anyone in his way, too."
"Do you know how he's tracking you?'
"No, I...wait. I think I heard one of them talkin' about computers?"
"Does it matter?"
"Yes, it does. If you know how he's getting his information, you can manipulate the information he sees. If we do it right, we can pick when, where, and how to confront him rather than you waiting for him and wondering when he'll find you again."
"You ever done it?"
"A couple times. Even pulled the 'don't tell your friends so their reactions are right' stunt."
Faith rolled her eyes, but Kitty could see the tension in the younger girl's body had faded some.
"You ever do that to me, I'll kick your ass."
"You can try. I was trained by the best."
"Wanna find out who's better?"
Kitty grinned, "You're on."
Faith returned the grin before finishing her breakfast.
While she waited, Kitty grabbed a newspaper.
"You said you like baseball, right?"
"Gotta be Red Sox, baby."
Kitty handed her the sports section, "Well, they're playing the Twins here, tomorrow."
"Where am I gonna find Sox gear in Minneapolis?"